In this video, Howard Dean declares the debate between capitalism and socialism to be over. Since both are rooted in human nature, Dean says we need both. The only question remaining what proportions of each do we need in order to make the whole thing work. Of course, if someone has to say the debate is over, that usually means that it isn’t. (remember when Al Gore said the global warming debate was over?). This writer, for one, is calling on the GOP to mount a robust defense of capitalism in response to the Democrats’ embrace of socialism. The writer thinks Republicans could find some inspiration from libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises.
Presumably, Dean takes the collapse of the financial and housing markets, following by the recession, as a signs that pure capitalism has failed and needs to be alloyed with socialism. Dean points to Europe as a model for this new capitalism-socialism hybrid. Problem is, at a time when capitalism is in such disrepute, Europeans are becoming less socialist. If those who are most familiar with socialist capitalism are second-guessing themselves, the debate can hardly be said to be over. Especially when Obama, whom Dean credits with bringing this model to America, has yet to finish his first year as president.
The Dean speech raises another disturbing point about communitarianism, which Dean defines as a need to be in a community. Dean apparently believes it is self-evident that communitarianism and socialism are basically the same thing. Really? What about faith, family, and friends? Can’t the need for community be fulfilled there as well?