Skip to comments.America Needs Virtue before Prosperity: A Response to Tucker Carlson
Posted on 01/08/2019 8:27:18 AM PST by SeekAndFind
This week, Fox News Tucker Carlson generated a veritable firestorm over his pitch for a new brand of American populism. In truth, his brand of populism isnt particularly new its a merger of Pat Buchananera paleoconservatism and Bush-era compassionate conservatism. Its an attempt to rally government behind preferred conservative causes rebuilding the family chief among them rather than recognizing that government is typically an obstacle to those causes; its an attempt to fill a gap in the soul with a policy-based solution.
Heres Carlsons explanation of markets:
Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. Youd have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.
This sounds far more like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than it does like Ronald Reagan or Milton Friedman. Thats because the democratic socialist movement has a lot in common with the economic populism of the Right. The Marxist Left claims that human failings are the result of private propertybased economic systems; therefore, private propertybased systems must be destroyed. Social democrats like Sanders and Warren agree, but also acknowledge the inherent power of markets (although Sanders speaks more like a Marxist than a social democrat). Social democrats believe that shackling the power of the market to the redistributive and regulatory power of the state represents the best way forward. Thats why Sanders and Warren use the Nordic states as their models, rather than Cuba or the Soviet Union.
The populist Right largely agrees. Carlson explicitly states, along with Sanders and Warren, that voluntary decisions can amount to exploitation; he blames rich Americans for somehow, in unspecified fashion, convincing poorer Americans to conceive children out of wedlock. The free-market system, according to Carlson, has provided us with a lot of stuff, and yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Therefore, free markets are responsible for our empty souls as well as for our fuller fridges.
But thats untrue. Typically, religious thinkers, as well as our founding fathers, recognized that prosperity could not exist without freedom, and that freedom could not exist without virtue. Free markets, in fact, were a result of certain virtuous underpinnings and fundamental conceptions about the value of individual human beings: Human beings were made in the image of God, had special value, were masters of their own labor, and could freely alienate that labor in voluntary transactions with others. Separating freedom from virtue would undercut freedom itself we would inevitably begin to twist freedom to harm others as well as ourselves. As George Washington put it, of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. . . . Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. James Madison agreed: To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.
Without religion and morality we could, for a time, remain rich. But we would then begin to subject our freedoms to our own tyrannical impulses. In the founding view, the chief threat to freedom came from lack of virtue; perhaps the chief threat to virtue came from desire for material gain, disconnected from the virtuous social fabric. If we became addicted to stuff rather than to virtue, if we began to think that stuff could replace virtue, then we would inevitably undercut the basis of our own commercial republic.
Ironically, though, Carlsons claim that material gain isnt enough to provide happiness doesnt lead him back to virtue, which would bolster additional freedom. It leads him to the same material solutions that undercut virtue in the first place.
Its easy to reduce governmental debates to questions of resource allocation and governmental priorities. Thats essentially the fight between Left and Right in Europe: a fight between populists who wish to hijack government for their own ends and Leftists who wish to hijack government for theirs. But that was never the American discovery. America guaranteed us adventure, not happiness. To succeed in that adventure to maintain the possibility of that adventure required a social fabric built on virtue. If we fail to make virtuous decisions on an individual level, we cant blame that on tariffs or payday lenders. And if we do, were part of the problem.
Shapiro and NRO are never-Trumpers and their links should not be allowed on this site.
RE: Shapiro and NRO are never-Trumpers and their links should not be allowed on this site.
Shapiro IS NOT ( repeat IS NOT ) a NeverTrumper.
He is a self-proclaimed “Sometime Trumper”... supporting him when he thinks he’s right and criticizing him when he thinks he’s wrong.
Isn’t this the same Ben Shapiro who called Trump immoral for the Muslim ban, even though he’s written a bunch of articles about uprooting and deporting all Palestinians from Israel?
He is a hack who plays with words and virtue without believing or possessing any of what he espouses.
“I called myself a Never Trumper, which stopped applying the day of the election. Now, as I’ve said, I’m a Sometimes Trumper.”
Ben Shapiro Explains How Trump Refugee Order Is NOT A Muslim Ban
Can anyone help a brother out?
Baloney! Shapiro should be more careful. Not only is his analysis baloney, it’s not kosher baloney. Like William Krystal, he’s making sausage by using adulterated logic. Heaven only knows what’s in their portfolios.
RE: Not only is his analysis baloney
Can you elaborate?
Here is Shapiro’s beef:
Carlsons claim that material gain isnt enough to provide happiness doesnt lead him back to virtue, which would bolster additional freedom. It leads him to the same material solutions that undercut virtue in the first place.
Shapiro is a hypocrite and a mercenary at best. Recall he also promoted the Lewandowski attack, saying we had a duty to believe that stupid whore who hoaxes getting beaten up.
Shapiro never apologized for that and has only come off Never Trumpism a little bit to keep his Audience. You are foolish to not recognize his deception.
Shapiro is a never Trump magpie being pushed forward now. No thanks
Shapiro is a never Trump magpie being pushed forward now. No thanks
RE: Shapiro never apologized for that and has only come off Never Trumpism a little bit to keep his Audience.
I’ve been listening to his show on the drive time radio. I have NEVER had the impression that he was a NEVER ( as in will NEVER support Trump no matter what he does ) TRUMPER.
Listen to him before jumping into conclusions. For instance, On the issue of the day — THE WALL, Ben Shapiro SUPPORTS Trump.
I called myself a Never Trumper, which stopped applying the day of the election. Now, as Ive said, Im a Sometimes Trumper.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.” “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”
- John Adams
Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion
are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.
Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence
There were a whole bunch of people who were reserved about Trump in 2016 because of his erratic personal life, who have been happily surprised by his actions as president. Shapiro is one of them.
Right, but what solutions?
Unless Shapiro is suggesting everyone pick up a copy of Seneca's Letters, the way forward is...?
One of Marx's greatest deceptions was the invention of the term, "capitalism." It made the concepts of free markets, just another, "-ism," a defined system whose merits and faults can be debated in relation to other, "-isms". Mere use of the word, "capitalism," allows Marx to set the terms of the debate. To the contrary, free markets are not an "ism" with rules, predictable patterns, borders, etc defined by anybody but each individual participant in it. Free markets are how civil people interact with one another and conduct their commerce to satisfy their needs and wants. There may be agreed upon rules (i.e., against fraud, breach of contract, etc.) but these do not in and of themselves define a system. Free markets are not an "ism" any more than an ocean or river are a plumbing system.
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