The good people at CIVITAS REVIEW (www.NCCivitas.org) remind us of the moral case for capitalism and conservatism. They provide an excerpt from Arthur C. Brook’s new book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.” (A turn around on F. A. Hayek’s classic book title: “The Road to Serfdom.”) Mr. Brooks argues that the only way advocates for capitalism can win the debate with statists is to “make the moral case” for it.
Brooks believes that people of all kinds and status want a socio-economic system that “is morally legitimate, not just efficient.” He says that free enterprise champions celebrate capitalism because it is “essential to happiness and fulfillment.”
Free enterprise allows people the personal satisfaction of succeeding on merit; to do meaningful work; have control over their lives; and it gives everyone the opportunity to improve their lives. Yet, often during debates, advocates for capitalism rely on facts and figures showing the superiority of this system in terms of “productivity and economic efficiency.” (I cringe every time a politician publicly pronounces it’s government’s mission to “provide jobs.”)
Brooks believes these truths alone will not make our case with most Americans. He writes that “reliance on materialistic arguments is a gift to statists.” They will demagogue the debate suggesting we are “selfish and only motivated by money”—profiteers at the expense of others. And they seem to win on that false premise. As a result, emotional “redistributionist” arguments lead to failed public policies.
Mr. Brooks makes a painful point, but expects to win the debate by making the moral case for free enterprise.
Based on my experience, his premise makes sense. For example, when confronted with factual evidence showing that public welfare policies have cost billions of dollars but have failed in promises to eliminate “poverty,” a liberal friend responds: “Well, I’m in favor of helping my fellow man.” Others have more bluntly asked: “Why are you against poor people?”
It seems impossible to counter these emotional—feelings of moral superiority—retorts. These people obviously can’t support their statist views with evidence; they just resort to personal criticism; in this case accusations that capitalists don’t have compassion.
So, Brook’s strategy seems worthy. I’ll try it: Statists are driven by envy and greed.
Most of us have been taught that envy is a vice: “Thou shalt not covet….” Of course, that may not resonate with those who have no moral values. Clearly, though, statists covet what others have earned: “The rich must pay their fair share…Romney wants to give a tax cut to millionaires.”
Well, isn’t it morally right that by profiting themselves capitalists have incentive to provide jobs and a better standard of living to many others?
Isn’t it immoral for statists to use the police power of government to take a larger share of the property of some people and distribute small amounts (less than a “living wage”) to others through uncaring government bureaucracies?
How about the greed of statists to use confiscated wealth to encourage crony corporate activities that can’t succeed without government subsidies—thus, putting companies at risk of failure and workers more likely to be laid off?
Yes, I believe that statists are immoral. Their unprincipled, corrupt use of government power has led millions of Americans to dependency based on lies and false promises, depriving them of self-respect, and keeping them hopeless and in despair. Statists can never deliver on promises. It’s immoral to deceive people.
On the other hand, capitalists won’t promise what they can’t deliver. Those uncorrupted by collusion with government must succeed or fail on their own efforts. They have no legal power to coerce people or confiscate property; powers authorized by statists to government.
Truly free enterprise merely offers people the opportunity to use their God-given abilities to do meaningful work, provide for themselves and live fulfilled lives—the only chance to improve their condition and succeed in their pursuits of happiness.Read full article » No Comments »
John Locke’s Jon Sanders takes on the film incentives at comicbook.com with success. Here’s an interesting example citing a movie that wasn’t nearly as popular as Iron Man 3:
What I mean by the question above is: A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy was never going to drive the kind of general interest from the public that a movie like Iron Man 3, with the potential to drive $1 billion in global revenue, will. That seems as important a distinction as the free rider problem, doesn’t it?
Sanders – An interesting example, given that the taxpayers of North Carolina involuntarily committed nearly five times more money in tax credits for “A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy” than American viewers voluntarily gave it in at the box office. Nevertheless, I’m inclined to believe that the interest in superhero action movies is focused on the superhero and special effects, not the settings, which I think most viewers generally regard as generic backdrops.
Ouch!Read full article » No Comments »
At the close of the city council meeting last week, Mayor Bill Saffo made would many could see as a pitch FOR the new bond referendum. He cited Airlie Gardens and numerous other government projects as “successful” in how they enhanced quality of life. Here’s what the StarNews had to say editorially without even mentioning the mayor’s commnts:
By law city officials cannot be cheerleaders for the bond issue. That will fall to the stadium’s private-sector supporters, who have a difficult charge at a time when voters have a tight hold on their wallets and when many are having a difficult time meeting their routine household expenses.
The StarNews might have listened to Saffo’s comments because it came awful close to cheerleading. Another difficult detail is that the Chamber of Commerce received $20k in taxpayer dollars and will be paying to advocate for the stadium. This is a THIN line ethically for them.Read full article » No Comments »