Re: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Miriam English (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 01:47:14 MDT

At 07:56 AM 19/07/2001 -0700, Technotranscendence wrote:

>I actually think "religion" in this debate is being used to smear anyone who
>argues in favor of a free market.

No. This is completely wrong. :-( [sigh]

This is why I keep repeating over and over that I am not against
capitalism; to avoid exactly this kind of misreading of my intentions.

I used the description of capitalism as religion to describe the way some
people use the concept as a faith that doesn't allow contrary points to be
heard. When used that way capitalism becomes as dangerous as any religion,
because it blinds you to any errors in your assumptions. (I kept repeating
this too.)

I hoped such a reference would be useful in defusing that religious
standpoint. I figured, wrongly it turns out, that because the people on
this list are generally opposed to religious acceptance of dogma that it
might give them pause. Unfortunately it often produced a kneejerk response
of "to arms! she is attacking our dogma!" :-(

>Now, I've actually presented arguments and evidence of why a free market
>works in various cases Mariam English and others have given us as examples
>of free market failure. Instead of actually answering me on this, Mariam
>has just piled up more examples. In other words, she can't reply to my
>specific arguments, so she moves on to other ones.

The reason I kept showing problems that can arise from capitalism is *not*
because I hate it or want to destroy it. It is because all I needed to show
was that problems can arise -- it is not The Answer. In telling me that it
mostly does work you are preaching to the converted. I already know that it
mostly works. Your BIG mistake was in continually thinking that I was
opposed to capitalism. I am not. How many ways can I say this??

The reason I stopped replying in detail to many responses is:
  - they completely missed my point: that I am not against capitalism or
trying to smear free market ideas, but am worried by fanatical adoption of
those as articles of faith
  - I want to get back to my VR project -- I don't have limitless time to
devote to ineffective debate
  - it is not really a major point worth pursuing over days and days of
email -- how hard can it be to understand that elevating capitalism to
religion status is dangerous?

I did respond where:
  - I felt people were honestly trying to make logical arguments
  - the misrepresentation of what I said made me take the bait :-(

>To me this sounds a lot like when I debate with Creationists. They will
>tell me evolution is disproven by some case A. When I show them that they
>are wrong about A, they ignore this and bring up case B. When I show them
>that they are wrong about B, they ignore this and bring up case C. And so
>on. I think you get where I'm going.

This is just plain wrong, and a little insulting.

I'm not trying to convert you.

I have tried to sound a note of caution -- that free market capitalism,
efficient though it is, and probably the best economic model to date, is a
flawed model. Being blinded to those flaws by faith is just asking for trouble.

You are defending something which is only under attack if it dogma.
If it is a reasoned point of view then there is nothing to defend from what
I have said.

         - Miriam

Q. What is the similarity between an elephant and a grape?
A. They are both purple... except for the elephant.
Virtual Reality Association

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:50 MDT