I think it goes without saying that I love capitalism. It’s a self-organizing system that prioritizes services meant for others, and has historically been the alternative to oppression and subjugation under communism or totalitarianism. True free market capitalism is the natural state of a free society. However, as humane as capitalism is, it can only provide relative equality of opportunity, and never equality of outcome. For socialists who don’t understand concepts like the Pareto Distribution, which explains things like wealth disparity in a free society, this can be hard to accept. Hence, the emergence of subreddits such as r/LateStageCapitalism.
r/LateStageCapitalism is an online space where socialists can discuss the evils of capitalism, and commiserate with each other about how oppressed they and their unlimited internet access are in a cutthroat capitalist economy. It is intended to be a safe space for socialist discussion, and as such, has some strict rules for posting:
Although I have been critical of socialists in the past, I was curious as to how they behave on their home turf. I was also interested to see, considering these very specific guidelines, how long an AnCap like myself would last in the group without being banned? I made it my goal not to outwardly defend capitalism and only ask objective questions about socialist ideas. Given how unclear I am on the definition of “hate speech,” and my ignorance as to what a “brocialist” is, I assumed it would only take a few hours for me to get banned anyway. So, under the guise of a non-political username, I entered the dragon’s lair.
The first thing I noticed was how most posts were based on criticisms of capitalism, rather than discussing viable alternatives. Slightly annoying, but still, not too different from the way AnCap forums like r/Anarcho_Capitalism discuss government. However, one thing that differentiated r/LateStageCapitalism from my favorite AnCap forums was that debate was forbidden. If these people had such legitimate criticisms of capitalism, wouldn’t they easily be able to stand up to scrutiny from capitalists? It appeared these socialists would rather remain in an echo chamber than stay open to outside opinions.
Unsurprisingly, it did not take me long to become “triggered” by socialist rhetoric. It was hard to resist my first impulse to comment a brazen defense of capitalism on every post, but in order for the experiment to continue, I had to be subtle. I tried to present myself as someone who was curious about socialism, and just wanted to learn based on the knowledge I already had. I tried to question the assumptions made in several posts without seeming too openly anti-socialist. Here are some of my first questions, which seem to have been passed over by the auto-mod destroying angel.
On a post about the tyranny of the 1%:
On a post blaming capitalism for national parks charging entry fees:
Some of my other comments were quietly taken down by the auto-mod, including this explanation of the Pareto distribution and how it even applies in games of Monopoly:
On a post that mentioned gun rights, I met another anarchist, this one, an AnCom. They were actually pretty reasonable. In order to ensure I could participate in more discussions in the future, I decided to do what I do in real life and not specify what flavor of anarchist I was. I wonder how he would have reacted if I had revealed the truth?
Surprisingly enough, I even got a few upvotes on what I said about Vladimir Lenin. I was not expecting that.
However, my comment about the 1% received a more aggravated response:
Of course he had to mention those cursed things called ‘roads.’ Naturally, I was too terrified to respond.
Just kidding, by that point, they had banned me from posting. I can only assume it was because I thought capitalism was “pretty metal.”
Unsurprisingly, the socialists were not exactly approving:
Although I didn’t last very long among the socialists of r/LateStageCapitalism, it sure was an exciting 3 hours. I do have to give them credit though, Milton Friedman in corpse paint is a pretty magnificent mental image. I might have to change my profile picture.