“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over Communism; in this country, capitalism over democracy.” — The American author Fran Lebowitz, quoted in the New Yorker, May 16.
With reference to the United States, is this true?
Yes, if one equates capitalism with money and thinks, for example, of the effect of campaign contributions on the political process. However, there are many examples of popular campaigners losing to better-financed competitors. Fran Lebowitz is also right if one thinks of the recent display of outrageous greed on Wall Street and the extraordinary effectiveness of corporate lobbies in Washington.
But money can, of course, corrupt in a non-capitalist society like Fidel’s Cuba. Money and power.
But she is wrong if one reflects that capitalism is not the same as materialism and that materialism can easily co-exist with democracy. Early in the 19th century, de Tocqueville commented on crude American materialism while being deeply impressed by American democracy.
Other quotes by Fran Lebowitz:
I’ve done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not.
No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.
Calling a taxi in Texas is like calling a rabbi in Iraq.
Polite conversation is rarely either.
Radio news is bearable. This is due to the fact that while the news is being broadcast, the disk jockey is not allowed to talk.
Remember that as a teenager you are in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear the phone is for you.
Success didn’t spoil me. I’ve always been insufferable.