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Making a moral case for capitalism
Philadelphia Inquirer ^ | October 21, 2012 | By Arthur C. Brooks

Posted on 10/21/2012 6:18:52 AM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer

Earlier this month in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney made an unusual argument by modern political standards: that long-term deficit spending is not just an economic issue, but a moral one. "I think it's . . . not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation."

This is a notable occurrence, not just because Romney is frequently chided for being cool and detached, but because it represents a return to something our founders knew but succeeding generations have forgotten: Limited government and individual liberty aren't merely policy alternatives. They're moral imperatives.

America's founders were moralists, not materialists. The Declaration of Independence defends not our right to material prosperity, but, rather, the covenant between government and citizens of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In both public declarations as well as personal correspondence, the founders discussed, debated, and explained their thinking using moral language.

In today's commercial republic, the freedom our founders fought for is expressed in the form of free enterprise: the system of laws and institutions that rewards entrepreneurship and hard work, largely on the basis of markets and competition. Free enterprise is what Thomas Jefferson meant by the "free exercise of industry . . . and the fruits acquired by it." Free enterprise is compatible with government in the case of market failures (such as crime) and a safety net for the indigent, but it is inconsistent with today's growing statism and corporate cronyism.

(Excerpt) Read more at philly.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: capitalism; debt; election2012; socialism

1 posted on 10/21/2012 6:19:01 AM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
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To: Oldeconomybuyer

“Earlier this month in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney made an unusual argument by modern political standards: that long-term deficit spending is not just an economic issue, but a moral one. “I think it’s . . . not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation.”

Hussein should understand this if he didn’t just read whatever his handlers put in front of his lying face.

The Fraud said it about Bush.


2 posted on 10/21/2012 6:27:56 AM PDT by treetopsandroofs (Had FDR been GOP, there would have been no World Wars, just "The Great War" and "Roosevelt's Wars".)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Arthur C. Brooks' Who Really Cares? demolishes the idea of "compassion" as the motive behind leftist schemes. When conservatives even donate far more blood than liberals, let alone volunteer time and money (against Ayn Rand's advice?), what's left for the liberals to claim?
3 posted on 10/21/2012 6:31:49 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Oldeconomybuyer

We should start by dropping the term “Capitalism” and start using “Free market”.


4 posted on 10/21/2012 6:56:52 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: cripplecreek

And “Free enterprise”


5 posted on 10/21/2012 7:09:10 AM PDT by quimby
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To: quimby

Exactly. The left has had far too much success in changing our language and its time we stopped playing their game.

Karl Marx was the man who used the word Capitalism and he didn’t do it out of love.


6 posted on 10/21/2012 7:13:17 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Thanks for posting. Everyone should go to the Philadelphia Inquirer website and read the article and post a comment...this is a key vote battleground and bumping this article up to most read might help. There is no greater moral issue that we face as a country than is our very existence.

In 1770 Alexander Fraser Tyler wrote in his book, Cycle of Democracy, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

He went on, “These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to Complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.”

7 posted on 10/21/2012 7:57:42 AM PDT by polstar123
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To: gusopol3
against Ayn Rand's advice?

Tut, tut, tut. That was not Ayn Rand's advice.

Rand believed that our moral obligation is to ourselves and those to whom we freely obligate ourselves [family primarily.] If everyone followed that advice, society would be in much better condition.

Or, as my 88 year-old mother has told me all my life: Charity begins at home.

Now, once you have provided for yourself and your loved ones, then helping others, Rand said, is a demonstration of man's humanity toward man.

P.S.: Mom's never read a word of Rand's.

8 posted on 10/21/2012 8:08:37 AM PDT by BfloGuy (Teach a man to fish and you lose a Democratic voter.)
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To: BfloGuy
Rand believed that our moral obligation is to ourselves and those to whom we freely obligate ourselves [family primarily.] If everyone followed that advice, society would be in much better condition.

That is a very Christian thing even if Rand wasn't, unlike modern liberal churches that teach collective salvation through taxation.
9 posted on 10/21/2012 8:15:55 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer; All
Thanks for posting this excellent piece.

Romney's raising of the "morality" question when it comes to debt is a legitimate one to raise and discuss.

America's Founders were clear on such matters. So was the great moral philosopher, Adam Smith, whose treatise entitled, "An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," coincidentally, was published in 1775.

The Founders' passion was for individual liberty, and they risked all for that cause.

Those who consider themselves Christian today might consider some questions which might be pertinent to this discussion:

Is liberty of imperfect individuals in a society more compatible with Christianity? - OR

Is coercive control by some likewise imperfect individuals in government over all other imperfect individuals in a society more compatible with Christianity?

Christian teachings encourage individual benevolence, meekness, etc. Where in those teachings is use of coercive power over the lives of others encouraged?

Do imperfect individuals who gain coercive power by election to posts in government somehow become more virtuous and wise than likewise imperfect individuals in the society?

Are there examples in American history where the general welfare of the society benefitted by applying the principles of so-called "government" control of the means of production and distribution?

A reading of Governor Bradford's diary of the experience of the Jamestown Colony might be instructive here.

America's Founders preferred liberty for individuals, and their principles made America a desired destination for millions for over 200 years.

"To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:39

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:122

10 posted on 10/21/2012 8:40:51 AM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: BfloGuy

Thanks.


11 posted on 10/21/2012 9:44:31 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: BfloGuy

However:
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/charity.html

“My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.”

Brooks strongly makes the argument that charity is a primary virtue, that people make themselves better, stronger and more productive by systematically engaging in acts of charity and teaching their children to do so. From my understanding, very superficial , of Romney’s activities as an individual and as a father, that has been his course.


12 posted on 10/21/2012 10:05:10 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: gusopol3
However:

That citation only reinforces my comment. There should be no "however."

Rand did not think that charity was a "major" moral virtue; merely, as I said, an example of man's humanity to man.

Her philosophy certainly didn't forbid it; neither did it elevate charity to a moral necessity.

Everyone should take care of his own -- that is a moral imperative.

Do you disagree?

13 posted on 10/21/2012 3:28:28 PM PDT by BfloGuy (Teach a man to fish and you lose a Democratic voter.)
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To: BfloGuy

You’re right, it is a matter of degree.


14 posted on 10/21/2012 5:39:36 PM PDT by gusopol3
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