Laissez-Con

The alliance between conservatives and laissez-faire advocates is a fundamentally self-destructive one for conservatives, simply because free-market capitalism is, in fact, the most radically anti-conservative social force at work in the world today, short of perhaps communism or wokesterism (though note how seamlessly these increasingly mesh with capitalist structures). This is basically why the program of unfettered capitalism is called “economic liberalism”, not “economic conservatism”.

Capitalism, in its most unrestrained form, means the establishment of material enrichment and self-centered profit optimization as the value above all other values. Those “other values”, when not purposefully eliminated, are left adrift in the de-emphasized non-economic areas of the society, where they then gradually cool, lose influence and even dissipate.

Even granting that certain moral or pseudo-moral elements are deliberately preserved by capitalism—such as “work ethic”, or ability to cooperate in a team, or obedience to a superior, or the importance of maintaining one’s agreements with exactitude—no sensible person can believe that these are more than remnants of the morality that previously held sway, or that they can truly seem particularly “moral” or “traditional” except by comparison with the few even more degenerative world social trends extant, such as, again, communism/wokesterism.

Capitalism is thus, at heart, an almost nihilistic force, as it aggressively attacks and destroys all prior, more traditional, more nuanced aspects of morality, meaning, and polity and replaces them with the pursuit of personal profit and material productivity. “Everything solid melts into air”, Marx infamously said. He was referring to the universal corrosive effect, not yet of communism, but of capitalism upon all established forms and beliefs in society—an effect that was already highly evident when he wrote in the middle-19th-century.

So let us make no mistake: free-market capitalism, almost as much as “social justice”, is through and through a progressive project, committed to reinventing the world on ever more universalist, ever more interchangeable, and ever more materialistic lines, at the expense of all social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life that do not quantitatively enhance profit or throughput.

For “conservatives” or “values voters” to think, then—or ever have thought—that “free markets” would be their ally in the long run, shows only that either 1) they have been unpardonably, unbelievably deluded; 2) the “inevitable arc of history” arguments typical of progressivism had already seeped so thoroughly into their subconscious as to make them throw in with a “lesser of two progressive evils” rather than an actual good; or 3) secretly, “conservatives” have, for roughly the past half-century at least, really been little more than progressive-nihilists-in-disguise.

Were capitalism and markets viewed–as Tucker Carlson proposed in a recent, surprisingly controversial monologue–as tools, rather than ends-in-themselves, it might be possible to maintain the proper perspective and balance necessary to couple material productivity with healthy polities with vigorous boundaries and strong, distinct cultures and traditions, more or less in peace and mutual respect—aided, but not defined, by trade. But once capitalism had made the jump from being an instrument of gross utility—ultimately second or third in importance in the life of nations and peoples—to being the universalizing super-weapon in a pseudo-religious mission of globalist homogenization, then the die had been cast. And we have our dear “conservatives” to thank for an enormous portion of that.

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