In a speech in Paris, France on May 4, Howard Dean, until January of this year the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, declared that the debate about whether to have capitalism or socialism is over. “We are going to have both,” he said.
After comparing President Obama with John F. Kennedy and taking pride in the multiculturalism of modern-day America, Dean claimed that both capitalism and something he calls “communitarianism” are part of “human nature”. According to Dean, all people feel an urge to care for others. Or, as he puts it, everyone wants to be “part of a community.”
Apparently Dean sees no contradictions between capitalism and socialism for he suggests that America ought to figure out “which proportion of each” it is going to have “in order to make this all work.” To Dean, this is the “sensible” thing to do.
There is nothing sensible about it. Capitalism and socialism are opposites. The first centers the individual, the second the collective. The first promotes ingenuity, the second demands conformity. Capitalism is freedom. Socialism has only ever been implemented through oppression.
Whether you hold capitalism as a system responsible for the recession or not, socialism is not the alternative. No socialist state has ever prospered economically, for it denies the very human qualities that drive progress.