If the Devil himself had thought up a vision of hell on earth, then Capitalism may well be one version of it. Capitalists may well reply that Communism is a version of hell as well, and that may well be true. But what these two ideologies represent are merely two opposing visions of hell.
The Devil, from looking at the pronouncements made in his name in Holy Scripture, was not a Communist. In fact, if anyone in Holy Scripture were Communists, it was the early Christians and ancient Jews. Early Christianity was mainly about selflessness and charity; the very things that Capitalists are philosophically opposed to.
The main purpose of the Devil, paraphrasing from Holy Scripture, was to test man and prove his irrationality and lack of virtue. Lucifer, in the Old Testament, refused to kneel before the image of man, as, being one of the archangels, he knew he was better than him. He was cast out of Heaven for his pride and disdain towards man. The story of Lucifer in the Holy Scripture is a history of repeated attempts to demonstrate man’s inherent psychological weaknesses.
If the Devil was against the Christian virtues of selflessness and charity we can logically assume that his principal drives were selfishness and indifference to human suffering. As we have seen, these two attributes are also shared with psychopaths and Capitalists.
Another strategy of the Devil in the Holy Scripture was to deceive and trick the pious into doing evil deeds, in order to prove man’s unworthiness and “irrationality”.
If we look at the principles of Capitalism, they are formulated to give the appearance of promoting freedom, rationalism and human progress. As we have seen, the reality easily creates something entirely opposite. When Capitalists’ behaviour is put under the microscope, we see the behaviour of a psychopath. Capitalism creates a state in nature close to chaos, albeit with the sham of human “civilisation” due to a minimal jurisdiction of law and order. It is this chaotic sham of human “civilisation” that Capitalists claim is the height of human rationalism.
If the Devil wished to create the conditions on Earth in order to bring about the downfall of human “civilisation” he could perhaps not go far wrong in implementing the philosophy of Objectivism and the economic ideology of Capitalism.
For the beauty of Capitalism is its mass appeal to the human desire, by intellectually turning all human conventions on their head. It is a philosophy that says that we can all have our cake and eat it. It is able to intellectualise psychopathic behaviour as virtue. The socially liberal and conscientious intellectual is demonised for his selfless behaviour, while encouraged to see those less fortunate than him as less worthy than him and to be ignored for the sake of his, and their, best interests. The hard-working middle-class craftsman is encouraged to discard any pretence of social niceties to his peers and see them as commodities to be used and exploited where possible in order to advance his career further, while at the same time encouraged to work his subordinates harder to further his own purse and, through his underlings’ hardships, encourage their motivation for self-advancement. While the impoverished outcast is encouraged by his own misfortune and the successes of others to do as much as he can to find a place for himself in the world, in whatever way he can.
What may well be the most appealing aspect of Objectivism to the Devil, therefore, is its plausible intellectual argument for encouraging evil behaviour. There is perhaps nothing more dangerously persuasive than a person being told what appears a clearly evil act is perfectly rational in the circumstances. The Nazis used similar thinking in carrying out the Holocaust; Stalin did the same when justifying the deaths of millions of his own people.
As said before, while a Capitalist is not directly or openly violent in the way that the Nazis were or Stalin was, millions may still die under a Capitalist’s watch. The only difference is that they would die through omission rather than commission. They would die because of indifference rather than intent.
But, if the Devil had learnt anything over the ensuing millennia, it may be than humanity is not as easily tricked as in the ancient or medieval past. Lucifer would have to get smarter in order to bring out the end of human civilisation, and finally prove man’s barbarity to man. He would not be able to be evil openly; it would have to subtly, indirectly. Cloaking evil in an intellectual veil of virtue would be the way Lucifer would have to do it these days, in the days of such human cynicism. Becoming a Capitalist would be an excellent way to go about it.