There are the daily troubles and expectations of trouble everyone has to struggle with in any social system — the frictions and disappointments, the greater and smaller unpleasant events that hurt, annoy, and thwart. I suppose that every one of us is more or less in the habit of attributing them wholly to that part of reality which lies without his skin, and emotional attachment to the social order — i.e., the very thing capitalism is constitutionally unable to produce — is necessary in order to overcome the hostile impulse by which we react to them.… Secular improvement that is taken for granted and coupled with individual insecurity that is acutely resented is of course the best recipe for breeding social unrest.
We see these grievances in full regalia in the recent global-warming orgies at Copenhagen Summit. Although ostensibly held to save the world from imminent environmental catastrophe, the most prominent and real motive of the global-warming hysteria is hatred and grievance against capitalism. We saw that quite clearly during an anti-capitalist tirade by the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. When Chavez said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening. When he concluded by saying “socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us,” he received a standing ovation. Many global warming advocates are merely disappointed socialists nursing grievances against capitalism and making use of environmentalism as a pretext for sabotaging the free market. With the recent exposure of emails from leading climate “scientists” at East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, the fraudulent nature of the Global Warming movement is beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet the exposure of the fraud has exercised no effect on the vast majority of global warming hysterics—which proves the power of their real motivations, which stem, at least in part, from grievances against capitalism and the West.
So we have this powerful force fueled by grievances against capitalism. What about grievances operating in the opposite direction? Could they be used by Objectivists and other advocates of “laissez-faire” to counter-balance the grievances on the other side?
While such “pro-market” (actually anti-government) grievances obviously exist, whether they can be used to cancel out the anti-capitalist grievances is unlikely. There are two forces that operate against them. First, it should be noted that if these grievances actually managed to move the country away from big government and toward freer markets, this very effect would tend to undermine itself over time. As grievances against big government push society closer to the ideal of laissez-faire, this very movement toward freer markets and less government will at the same time lessen the grievance level against government interference in markets; for as the role of government is lessened in people’s life, government will become less of a target for grievances, since people tend to focus their grievances against those institutions that most directly affect their lives. As the government’s role shrinks in people's lives, the role of other institutions, such as corporations and unions, will increase, thus making them a riper target for grievance. So built into the institutional structure of society is a kind of mechanism which serves as a brake of any movement toward laissez-faire. As a country moves toward socialism, grievances against government increase until the movement is reversed. But the same thing happens as the market gains in strength.
In addition to this, there’s another type of grievance that has to be taken into account: the grievance that arises when a government service is abolished. Since Obama’s election and the dominance of the left-wing of the Democratic Party in Congress, there has been growing resentment against the expansion of government in America. This, in combination with the government's gross fiscal irresponsibility, could lead to a reduction in government when changes in the political climate work their way through the political system. Yet if any government services end up being curtailed, this itself would be a potential cause of widespread grievances. The American public may not like taxes or big government, but they are rather fond of government services like social security and medicare. Here, then, is another source of grievance which would act as a brake toward the Objectivist political ideals.
Socialistic and capitalistic movements in society tend to be cyclical, as the trend toward either tendency fuels opposition. Before Objectivism could achieve its social and political goals, it would have to attain ideological supremacy. But all the empirical evidence at our disposal strongly suggests that this would be impossible. Many human beings nurse grievances against dominant institutions. That is just the in the nature of things: nothing to be done for it.