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Aaron’s Second Letter

Dear Mr. Capitalism,

It’s Aaron again, I thought I’d drop you a line to see if you could answer a little question for me: do you think the stuff we teach little kids in out society runs contrary to your ideals? I mean, I remember as a child, the highest ideals were sharing and compassion for others. I can’t even count the number of times when I was implored to give something to my brother or one of my classmates—fulfillment through the division of resources. Then, at some indeterminate point in time, the opposite became true: fulfillment through personal accumulation. Get the highest mark, have the biggest bank account, score as many points as you can, get into the best school. Compete for everything. That sense of worth that had once been the domain of apportionment was now all about individuality. It became about what makes you unique rather than what ties us together. It seems like at some point you, Mr.Capitalism, had taken control and then you never let go.

Once you get to any workplace, obviously all of that sharing stuff is gone. Sure, I have had many a-friendly co-worker, but if one of our jobs was on the line, the person was sure to throw you under the proverbial bus at a moment’s notice. Actually, the moment that sticks out most was when I was helped by a manager, rather than hindered.

I worked at a store, nothing special, we sold a bunch of junk (mostly made in China) to rich yuppies who had recently bought condos and had to furnish their new cubes. It was a summer job that I needed so I could pay my exorbitant tuition at college. Anyway, at some point, sales in the summer began to dip and the owner decided that he had to sack one of the four employees. The two managers were safe, so it would have to be one of the two “regular” staff. The boss faxed the managers to inform them that I was to be fired—that’s right, even though the dick was in the store three or four days a week, he didn’t have the balls to fire me himself, so he sent his minions in instead. These two managers, however, had become very good friends of mine (and still are today) and so faxed him back saying that he should fire the other employee rather than me. I appreciated it, but over the years I have realized what a strange situation that was—three people above me, who combined made all the decisions (hours worked, merchandise purchased, advertising etc.) and they collectively decided that none of the problems the store was having were theirs—they certainly didn’t suggest cutting their own hours or salaries. But I was saved, taken off the chopping block, and a guy whose name I don’t even remember (his dream in life was to be a puppeteer, I recall) was told he had been let go. That was it. I have seen it time and time again: when profits go up, the owners and CEO make more cash, but when the fortunes go against the company, it’s the people on the bottom who get hurt. They want the poor people to fight over the scraps, and so we compete with each other to keep our jobs rather than working collectively.

Hierarchy seems to have been everywhere in my life except for kindergarten. Why do you think this is? Thanks.

 

Dear Aaron (again),

Clearly you are a commie, Aaron. What is your social security number by the way? Your address?

To answer you question directly: one of the great injustices in our society is that all of our biggest and brightest minds go into the world of business rather than the world of education. I think we need to privatize all of our public schools so that we can increase salaries to get properly-qualified people to fill those positions. If corporations owned every school, we wouldn’t have to worry about this brainwashing anymore.

Why?

Because kindergarten teachers are a bunch of hippie-commies. Sharing? Caring about one another? Color-blindness? All of that bullshit doesn’t prepare a single student for what the world is going to be like. In fact, their future teachers have to spend all their time de-indoctrinating them. What a waste of time!

Fortunately, my kids never went to public schools, it was military or prep school for all of them. And I made sure their kindergarten teachers were hardest on them. They were drilled in the basic ten principles of capitalism (c/o of the Capitalist Institute):

  • People face trade offs.

  • People respond to incentives.

  • Rational people think within the margin.

  • Free trade is perceived mutual benefit.

  • The invisible hand allows for indirect trade.

  • Coercion magnifies market inefficiency.

  • Capital magnifies market efficiency.

  • Supply and demand magnify resource efficiency.

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  • Desires are infinite; resources are finite.

I especially like #9, those stupid kids were always asking for handouts, but it’s built right into their studies that I ain’t gonna give them shit unless they work for it! Perfect. I mean, look at those ten things and tell me that if every 4-year old in the world had memorized and internalized them, they wouldn’t be better off as adults.

I’ve seen some of this hippie-teachers with their flowery dresses and their big earrings and equally big smiles. Where to they think they are, Woodstock? Get out of my school, pinkie. I pay your damn salaries with my taxes. If only Joseph McCarthy had known that all those commie-cockroaches he kicked out of Hollywood would run directly into our schools and colleges, maybe he would have made sure to squash every single last one of them.

In summation: sharing is bullshit.

 

MISTER CAPITALISM

 

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3 thoughts on “Aaron’s Second Letter

  1. Dear Aaron,

    Thanks for your letter. Unfortunately you have misidentified me – I am a Ms. not a Mister. I thought it seemed obvious enough that I was a Ms., since I promote creativity, appreciate change, allow for differences, and stubbornly oppose the initiation of force against others. Of course, these days almost everyone has the wrong information about me, so I suppose my gender is just the start of it.

    Also, I don’t know who returned your letter posing as me, but they certainly don’t know me very well! For instance, I’m a pacifist, certainly not a military supporter. I also don’t believe in squashing people, even if they hate me.

    I digress – shall we return to the questions you raise in your thoughtful letter?

    In a word, yes, what is being taught to most of today’s youth is horribly foul and runs quite contrary to my values, as well as to human dignity and individual rights. Of course, once upon a time I had a much greater role in education, long before the days of terrifying school massacres. Schools were accountable to their local communities, and children were people, not standardized test scores.

    Unfortunately, the ideals you were taught came from religion and other forms of social control. I’m sorry that people you should have been able to trust worked to guilt-trip you into giving away your things when they should have been helping you build your self-esteem and discover your individual strengths. When we’re kids, we intuitively know better, but we don’t have the power to stand up to our parents and convince them they’re wrong. And as we grow older, we continue to know it’s all a horrible game and we DO deserve (that is, we have the natural right) to keep what we make or earn through our individual efforts. But we don’t have the social authority to stand up to our religious and political leaders and convince them they’re wrong. So everyone lives sad lives of self-sacrifice, and they call it morality, because no one taught them not to.

    Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way! My approach is all about empowerment. We can be proud of ourselves. We can be proud to want the best for our lives, not just from moment to moment, but over the long run. We can respect each other’s space and belongings, and we can value each other for what each of us offers. That’s the kind of world I want to live in!

    Ok, ok, this value talk sounds like the stuff of mushy self-improvement books, I understand. But after reading your sour experience in retail, I realized that how much of a difference it would have made in your life.

    The people we look up to as we grow up should be guiding us, helping us develop into our fullest individual potential, not undermining our achievements and telling us to “just get along” and “share”. It’s not that we can’t figure it all out without help, but it sure is better when the dominant values in our lives are about self-worth.

    So, with a little more individualism and self-esteem, as well as more honest understandings of our individual strengths, we could all avoid contracting out our time and efforts to do something that bores us when we should be doing what excites us. It sounds like you’re turned off by low-quality goods imported from a nation with rampant human rights abuse – and it may surprise you but your feelings really don’t offend me. Not only that, but apparently you’re not the only one, since the store was losing money! But instead of helping you find a niche you would feel good in which would help you move forward in your life, this anti-capitalist culture just tells you to “get along” and “share”, not to think for yourself. Who knows, you could be the next great entrepreneur! No one in the world would have guessed drop-out Bill Gates would totally revolutionize business and personal life all over the world. But instead, you settle for an unskilled summer job at a box store that you detest, just to end up being let go anyway! Sadly, it also doesn’t much help in your wonderful ambitions of affording to graduate from college.

    As far as poor people fighting for scraps, let me tell you about my older brother, feudalism – a major bully back in the day. Feudalism connected the church with the state, totally making up this story about “divine right”. It was a big scam to legally/politically/economically keep peasants from having a chance at upward mobility, unlike my system, which offered the first historical chance for poor people to improve their quality of life just through their own hard work, without seeking political favors. After I came along and stole feudalism’s attention, he moved on to a new image – fascism. He ended up creating the scariest nightmare ever known to human history.

    So, I hope that I helped answer some of your questions! If you’re curious to learn more about me, Ms. Capitalism, here’s a couple of great places to start:

    One of my greatest followers was a self-made immigrant named Ayn Rand, who escaped the Soviet Union to make a new life in the United States, even changing her name. Mrs. Rand wrote many books defending me, as more and more people began to attack me. While most read her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged” – it’s so freaking long! Let me please recommend “The Virtue of Selfishness”. It’s an easy nonfiction read, and though it’s not exactly about me, it is the foundation for the right ideals, the right values in our lives. If you’re interested in reading a book dedicated to me, try “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”.

    Also, there’s a WordPress blogger named tiffany267 who runs what she calls a “Non-Blog”, posting lots of external content related to her own personal values in an effort to spread healthy values and connect those who share them. Check it out!

    Thanks again for your correspondence. I wish you the best in your endeavors!

    Sincerely your unknown ideal,
    Ms. Capitalism

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