In today's Boomer-ized America, rational discussion of what ought to be the goals of our nation and which course to set to achieve them, is next to impossible. As somebody who keeps up with what both the left and the right are currently ranting about, it is quite obvious to me that very little will be achieved by our nation as long as this continues. I find this somewhat annoying, as there is really no deep reason why the guilty parties couldn't behave themselves and start a serious, productive dialog to resolve our national issues, and get us the hell off the cliff that we as a nation are teetering on at the moment.
The reason we are where we are is that we seem to have an entire generation of people, members of which are running the country, who absolutely refuse to deal with reality, instead opting to tow the party line, no matter how absurdly wrong for the given circumstances the party may be. Any attempt at discussion or debate invariably results in a word for word recitation of the official party doctrine. This happens on the left and on the right - none of you are innocent.
For example, our country is overrun with foreign nationals who ignore our laws, use our resources, and meddle in our politics while their own government cheers them on - (they would of course, as it takes the burden off of them and allows them to avoid any serious reform which would eliminate the need for millions of their citizens to flee their own country). Instead of doing something about THIS situation the democrats still want to amnesty the millions upon millions of people who have absolutely no respect for the laws of this country. They fight every attempt to ensure that available jobs go to American citizens and legal residents despite an unemployment rate of at least 10%, most likely substantially higher. They try to include illegal aliens in their health care program despite the fact that this country is broke, states are broke and people are broke. The magic money tree that they rely on will ultimately exact such a cost on this nation that we will end up considering ourselves lucky if we manage to still be a member of the 1st world when all is said and done.
On the right, the line is simply to call everything socialist and compare it to France. They completely ignore the fact that even the purest of the pure free-market economic theory recognizes the need for government intervention, regulation, oversight and administrative duties. The right embraces capitalism as a religion and awards it the same faith awarded God within the context of their real religion - only capitalism is not God, and blind faith in it is not warranted or justified.
Capitalism is an efficient way to allocate resources, being based on the assumption that everybody acting in their own interest will produce the biggest pie with the least overhead. The free market will keep costs and prices to a minimum, redistribute excess profit and generally cause society to produce that which society wants and needs. All in all a great system, and one that we should embrace as a nation, while at the same time, keeping in mind the well documented flaws of capitalism and proceeding to put in place sensible measures to deal with these flaws.
Economic theory tells us that monopolies are bad and will cause too little of a good to be produced and sold at too high a price. Therefore, smart people in government enacted anti-trust legislation.
Economic theory tells us that there are certain types of production costs which will not be incorporated into the final price of the product as those costs are borne by entities external to the production process. An example of this is pollution. If a factory is allowed to toss its waste into the nearby rivers, smog up the surrounding air, and generally make a mess of things, it is being allowed to make a profit at other people's expense. There is nothing anywhere in capitalist theory that says that this is OK, and again smart people with authority (theoretically our government) will have to step in and take some measure to deal with this externality.
The question is not IF something should be done, it is WHICH of the various tools at our disposal is appropriate for this particular situation. The debate should be occurring on the WHICH, not the IF, as it is now.
We are not slaves to a thing called capitalism, in general it is our friend. We the people decide what we want and then if we are smart we look to economic theory to assess the costs and benefits of our various options. Capitalism isn't a values system either - again that's up to us to decide. It also doesn't say we shouldn't as a society have a public school system, take care of our poor or that we should invade Iraq. Again, people decision.
So quit blaming everything on capitalism and quit expecting capitalism to do your dishes and save your soul. Sit down and talk to each other like those grown-ups you see in the old movies - you know, the ones your parents used to watch.