William Thien

Conservatism and Capitalism Are Not The Same. An Excerpt from A Conversation.

Posted on: June 12, 2013

A friend and co-worker recently told me that he believed one of my essays had taken a decidedly liberal turn. Being a conservative, I was curious to know what he meant by that? He told me that my position on stadium taxes and the free ride that sports corporations receive from stadium taxes indicated to him an anti-big business angle.

We then discussed a commercial by a consortium of railroad advertisers which stated that railroads were able to move a ton of cargo on one gallon of diesel. He neglected to mention that railroads are federally subsidized and so their efficiency is as well. That one gallon of diesel without federal subsidy is probably quite a bit more than a gallon.

What gives, he asked? Why the anti-big business attitude?

I wanted to laugh, but I did not.

“Welfare is welfare,” I said to him. I can’t write an essay about the wrongs of welfare for women birthing children out-of-wedlock and receiving $46,000 a year to do so and not point out the fact that large corporations are receiving all kinds of welfare of their own whether it be special tax incremental financing districts to pay for new stadiums (unnecessary to infrastructure) or federal subsidies for railroad transportation (infrastructure necessary). The corporate welfare list is long and varied, much of it probably totally unnecessary to the health and well-being of the country and its economy.

Welfare is welfare, I said, whatever form it takes or whomever or whatever receives it. I would add that I myself support many such forms of federal subsidy such as those that railroads receive or manufacturers might receive to locate in a certain place.

Conservatism and capitalism are not the same thing either, I added. Conservatism has to do with individual liberties and controlling the size of government. Capitalism, in my opinion being the best form of economy, is about making profits. Individual liberties and profits often do not seek the same objective.

I believe that party of the two largest which claims to be the most conservative has to a certain extent been hijacked by big business robot frontmen in a way which effects individual liberty and the foundations of conservatism, I told him.

One of the ways individual liberty has been effected is the increase in sales taxes we see when our elected decide to add such things as a stadium tax for example, something which may appear minuscule at first and though may result in an enjoyable event, does not add to the infrastructure of the community (in fact where I reside when there is a ballgame, forget about getting across town promptly). And with taxes so high for so many who have no shelter from them, of which we are many with no such shelter, such taxes as a stadium tax no matter how small when added up with all the others are an affront to individual liberty. It’s as simple as that.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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