Capitalism and socialism are not a political systems, but economic theories. Furthermore they are not independent systems but poles of a balance in distribution based respectively on the individual and the common good. All hell breaks lose when we believe we can choose between them, or can steer the ship of state by economic theory alone. This is why I rail against libertarian and capitalist theories when they pose as systems of governance. They are engines without a steering wheel.
Democracy and libertarian ideals are not economic systems but political theories. They two represent poles of a balance between the ideals of equality and freedom respectively. All hell breaks loose when we think we an choose between them, or come to believe that good politics is necessarily good economic policy. They are steering wheels with no engine.
We can argue about the definitions of each of these four elements, but our task is not to choose between them. Our task is to understand what each can and cannot do, and to put all four in balance.
I had not thought of capitalism and socialism as two poles of economics nor democracy and libertarianism as two poles of politics before, although I had noticed in each case that they rarely if ever appear in pure form. There is nearly always a mixture of them in many variations, and we just argue over the right mix.
I was recently impressed by Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation in “Democracy in America” that, given a choice, people tend to value equality over freedom. I am also impressed that we seem to be losing both very rapidly. 8/29/13, 19:10 CDT
Bob, well said, thank you.