Fidel Castro once said, “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating … because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.” What is most curious in this quote is the apparent innocence with which a famous socialist dictator uses the term hypocrisy, as if the socialist alternative to capitalism were anything but hypocrisy. Socialist dictators often allege that economic freedom is slavery and then, through a socialist revolution, bring real slavery to an entire people. The socialist dictator says, “I am a liberator.” He blames the free market for poverty, and then he annihilates the free market in favor of near universal poverty. A politician like Castro, promising happiness and freedom, nonetheless delivers the exact opposite and has the nerve to say that capitalism is hypocritical.
Consider the old Soviet joke which asks, “Comrade, what is the definition of capitalism?” The answer comes back, “It is a system where man exploits man while socialism is the exact opposite.” The joke works nicely in all socialist countries. The socialist dictator blames the free market for the world’s problems. He assumes a dictatorship over the economy, over investment, over opportunity. It is a total dictatorship because the state takes total control. And what could be more “filthy” and “gross”?
And what does socialism cause? Consider the death and destruction wrought by the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (see R.J. Rummel’s work), or by Hitler’s National Socialist German Worker’s Party? It is not unexpected, in this context, to learn that the young Castro was an admirer of Hitler and went through school with a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf under his arm. According to Agustin Blazquez and Jaums Sutton, Castro was nicknamed “the crazy” for mimicking “the speeches of Hitler and Mussolini in front of a mirror, practicing their mannerisms hour after hour.” Here we see Castro’s true ambition. He never cared about the economy. He fashioned himself after the great dictators. He aspired to absolute power. As a socialist demagogue he says that capitalism causes war, poverty and alienation. He then promises peace, prosperity, and brotherly love. “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises,” wrote Edmund Burke, “for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”
The definition of hypocrisy given by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is, “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.” It is worth pointing out that anti-capitalism is latter-day religion with many attending sects. These sects may fight each other for mastery of the world, but all are united in their desire to displace capitalism. We should not be fooled into thinking there is any difference between the National Socialist and the international socialist (i.e., the Communist and the Islamist). All are the enemies of freedom. All are the enemies of capitalism. As Ludwig von Mises pointed out in his book on socialism, “The real issue is not who should run the totalitarian apparatus. The real problem is whether or not socialism should supplant the market economy.”
More than 80 years ago Mises suggested that the socialists were naïve in their beliefs; and being naïve, they were not hypocritical. But after the massive failed experiments of the subsequent decades, we can see that the socialist dictators themselves are far from naive. It is hard to accept the benevolent intentions of the socialist cause as Mises did when he wrote that they do not consciously will “the destruction of society.” For what excuse have they for believing that socialism signifies the creation of a anything but slavery? Have they no history books? Cannot they see what has happened in every socialist country heretofore?
How can they plead ignorance when the historical evidence and the science of economics tells us in no uncertain terms that, as Mises warned, “every socialist policy must turn into destructionism.” And yet, here we are in the second decade of the new century and Mises yet describes the present situation almost exactly as it was then (more than 80 years ago). According to Mises, “Socialist policy employs two methods to accomplish its purposes: the first aims directly at converting society to Socialism; the second aims only indirectly at this conversion by destroying the social order which is based on private ownership.”
Look at America today. The socialist decries the free market. In one area after another the market is retreating while socialism advances. We only have to look at Obamacare to see what is happening to the insurance and healthcare industries. “Our whole life is so given over to destructionism,” wrote Mises, “that one can hardly name a field into which it has not penetrated.”
Hypocrisy is the charge laid at the door of capitalism. The socialist should look in a mirror.