What is a capitalist?
The words capitalism and capitalist are used in two different but related senses: one in a compartmentalized sense within the specialized science of economics (that studies the nature of production in a division of labor society), the second is in a broader sense of politics (the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of social systems).
Economically, a capitalist is someone who invests capital in a business concern.
Within the specialized domain of economics, a person who invests capital in a business concern is recognized as a capitalist, regardless of whether one advocates capitalism politically or not, e.g., Frederique Engels, Warren Buffet, and George Soros are economically capitalists.
Politically, a capitalist is an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism.
More broadly, that is philosophically and politically, only an advocate of capitalism is as a capitalist, e.g., philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand is politically a capitalist, factory-owner Frederique Engels (and co-author with Karl Marx of The Communist Manifesto) who advocated communism is politically anti-capitalist.
Though economically Engels came from a wealthy background, politically he is recognized as a socialist/communist because of his ideas.
Similarly, billionaires Warren Buffet, Ted Turner and George Soros — can be economically compartmentalized as capitalists — but philosophically they are not capitalists as they do not advocate capitalism on principle, but are advocates of “mixed economy” statism (capitalism combined with anti-capitalist elements) to various degrees. Soros being more anti-capitalist than Buffet. Soros, like billionaire Ted Turner, is a “socialist at heart.”
In summary, an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism is a capitalist, i.e., though economically Ayn Rand was a novelist, politically she was a radical for capitalism, i.e., though economically Frederick Engels was a factory owner, politically — as co-author of The Communist Manifesto — Engels is a socialist/communist because of his ideas.
The battle over capitalism is not just an argument over wealth; it is a philosophical one over the individual’s inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of their happiness.