Thanksgiving: We Should Be Thankful for Private Property

Thanksgiving Thankful for Private Propertyby John Stossel -
Had today’s politicians and opinion-makers been in power four centuries ago, Americans might celebrate “Starvation Day” this week, not Thanksgiving..

The Pilgrims started out with communal property rules. When they first settled at Plymouth, they were told: “Share everything, share the work, and we’ll share the harvest.”

The colony’s contract said their new settlement was to be a “common.” Everyone was to receive necessities out of the common stock. There was to be little individual property.

That wasn’t the only thing about the Plymouth Colony that sounds like it was from Karl Marx: Its labor was to be organized according to the different capabilities of the settlers. People would produce according to their abilities and consume according to their needs. That sure sounds fair. [Read more...]

America is Going John Galt

America is Going John Galtby James McAlister -
Many of us are numb today. Numb with the implications of what happened last night. Numb with dread.

Endless days and countless lines of print will be expended in the post mortem of the election, from a conservative perspective. Romney’s failures and shortcomings will be examined with electron microscopes. Why didn’t he do this? Shouldn’t he have done that? “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these…”

But these things don’t really amount to much. Because the real reason for our election results were neatly summarized by Bill O’Reilly at about 7:00 last night, as the faint shape of events to come began to emerge. [Read more...]

The Rich Don’t Make Us Poor

Christians in Post-Welfare World by Charles Kaupke -
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the need for the wealthy to “pay their fair share” so that the federal government can pay down its debts and continue to fund programs to provide basic human necessities for the poor, such as food, shelter, and prophylactics. Their argument is that the greedy rich have been stealing increasingly large percentages of the nation’s GDP, and have been hoarding their riches, rather than generously giving them to the federal government to be used for the common good. The only solution is to increase taxes on the rich, so that instead of letting billionaires covetously hold onto (and thus waste) their excess wealth, which they don’t really need, the government can take that cash and use it much more effectively, to give the rest of us free stuff. After all, it just isn’t fair that some Americans control billions of dollars’ worth of wealth, while others struggle to make ends meet.

Sounds plausible, right? Of course it does. Unfortunately for those who make a living out of inciting class warfare, it’s not true. [Read more...]

Earning Happiness — The Moral Promise of Free Enterprise

Prager University The words “happiness” and “free enterprise” don’t usually appear in the same sentence. Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, explains that the two are intimately and profoundly connected. The free enterprise system not only creates real wealth, it also provides individuals with the best chance to achieve personal satisfaction.

Brooks’ lecture, titled “Earning Happiness: The Moral Promise of Free Enterprise,” makes a strong case that the free market economic system is most conducive to human welfare. Brooks explains

“Free enterprise matters not just because of its unparalleled material benefits but because of its unparalleled moral benefits.”

[Read more...]

America: The Home of the…Compliant?

Socialism slavery tyranny communism by Daren Jonescu -
If you want a quick measure of the state of American society, you might consider the federal government’s use of unmanned aerial drones to monitor U.S. citizens, and in particular the EPA’s matter-of-fact defense of its use of drones over the Midwest as necessary to “verify compliance” with environmental laws. And as the EPA’s “environmental justice” agenda is quickly becoming the government’s official overarching priority (see here), we might describe the Obama era as the dawning of the Age of Compliance.

The priorities of civilizations can be gleaned from a consideration of the virtues they cherish most. For example, Homeric Greece valued honor, so their crowning virtue was courage. Later, the Classical philosophers attempted to change Greece, emphasizing the rational life over the warlike, and hence upholding wisdom as the definitive virtue. Achilles vs. Socrates became Greece’s great civilizational debate. [Read more...]

Keynesianism and the Collectivist Dream

Democrat Communist Marxist no difference by William Sullivan -
It’s campaign season, and as usual, Democrats are employing their class struggle rhetoric to position a redistributive government agenda as the only way Americans can be saved from themselves and the greedy capitalists who prey upon them.

Accustomed though we may be, this might seem an odd campaign strategy in light of recent polls showing widespread distrust of, and even contempt for, the federal government.  But they have no choice but to keep their talking points emotional rather than substantive, you see.  The core economic model of the American left is Keynesianism, which is less a viable economic path than it is an unrealistic pipe dream that stirs the collectivist’s blood, much like the notions of world peace and Utopia.

Keynesianism is a model based upon how collectivists think the economy should operate, rather than how it actually operates.  As Ron Ross puts it, “Keynesianism is definitely not an evidence-based model of how the economy works. [Read more...]

What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism

Bible Capitalism America Freedom by Rabbi Aryeh Spero -
Who would have expected that in a Republican primary campaign the single biggest complaint among candidates would be that the front-runner has taken capitalism too far? As if his success and achievement were evidence of something unethical and immoral? President Obama and other redistributionists must be rejoicing that their assumptions about rugged capitalism and the 1% have been given such legitimacy.

More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor. [Read more...]

Free Enterprise and Fiscal Sanity Aren’t Social Darwinism

Free Enterprise Economic Freedom by Jay W. Richards -
On Tuesday, President Obama denounced Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which would modestly reduce the rate of growth in the federal budget. Ryan’s plan is a “radical vision,” says the president, which amounts to “thinly veiled Social Darwinism.” Understandably, Ryan has called the comments “surreal,” since the Wisconsin Republican seeks to reform entitlements such as Medicare in order to save them. That doesn’t sound like Social Darwinism.

In fact, “Social Darwinism” is an old left-wing catch phrase used to disparage free enterprise. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reportedly said that one good catch phrase can stop thinking for fifty years. This one certainly has. [Read more...]

The Welfare State and the Selfish Society (Prager University)

Does capitalism and the free market make you selfish? Dennis Prager answers this question and challenges what for many has become conventional wisdom.

[Read more...]

Catholic Social Doctrine and the Market Economy: Free Persons and Free Markets

Free Markets Catholic Church by Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
The free market must operate within certain moral, institutional, and legal norms, or else it becomes something other than a free market. The free market is not an autonomous, free-for-all area exempt from moral law or from the hand of positive law. The market must always be protected and kept free, and it must be safeguarded from those who would seek to use it wrongly, whether by fraud, manipulation, abuse of economic power, or monopolization. It operates within the Rule of Law. …

The social doctrine of the Catholic Church undeniably puts great emphasis on the free market as a valuable, indeed “irreplaceable” economic and social institution. (Compendium, No. 349) Drawing largely from John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus annus, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is bullish on the free market and supports it as the best general means to assure proper allocation of scarce economic resources, of achieving economic efficiency, and of benefiting the common good.

The free market is an institution of social importance because of its capacity to guarantee effective results in the production of goods and services.  Historically, it has shown itself able to initiate and sustain economic development over long periods.  There are good reasons to hold that, in many circumstances, “the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs.” [Read more...]

What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism

Ten Commandments envy corrosive shall not covetby Aryeh Spero -
As the Ten Commandments instruct, envy is corrosive to the individual and to those societies that embrace it.

More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.

Regarding mankind, no theme is more salient in the Bible than the morality of personal responsibility, for it is through this that man cultivates the inner development leading to his own growth, good citizenship and happiness. The entitlement/welfare state is a paradigm that undermines that noble goal.

The Bible’s proclamation that “Six days shall ye work” is its recognition that on a day-to-day basis work is the engine that brings about man’s inner state of personal responsibility. Work develops the qualities of accountability and urgency, including the need for comity with others as a means for the accomplishment of tasks. With work, he becomes imbued with the knowledge that he is to be productive and that his well-being is not an entitlement. And work keeps him away from the idleness that Proverbs warns leads inevitably to actions and attitudes injurious to himself and those around him. [Read more...]

Obama: Our Marxist Wizard of Oz

Obama Marxist Wizard of Oz by Peter Ferrara -
His mother was an unabashed hippie from 1960s central casting. His father was an openly avowed Communist from Kenya. While his father wasn’t around much, his devoutly progressive grandparents arranged for him to be mentored during his adolescent years by a dues paying member of the U.S. Communist Party, Frank Marshall Davis.

When he went to college, he was attracted to the Marxist professors and student activists, according to his own published memoirs. When he graduated, he moved to Chicago and became an instructor for the left-wing extremist organization ACORN in the social manipulation methods of radical Marxist agitator Saul Alinsky. He attended for close to two decades the Trinity United Church of Christ, which practiced neo-Marxist Black Liberation Theology. That church was headed during those years by the openly socialist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who declared that the 9/11 terrorist attack on America was “America’s chickens coming home to roost.” He also famously preached from his pulpit, “Not God bless America, God damn America….” [Read more...]

What the Pilgrims Can Teach Us about Economic Freedom

Thanksgiving Freedom Economic Freedom Economic Freedom -
The Pilgrims struggling to survive at Plymouth Plantation learned the importance of private property first-hand in 1623 when Governor Bradford adopted a free-enterprise system after just two years of communal sharing. Their experiment with socialism revealed valuable lessons that inspired the colony to shift to a free-market economic system that would serve as the foundation upon which America would grow into a great and prosperous nation.

As the Pilgrims learned, societies that respect property and the rule of law capture the benefits of free-market enterprise and enjoy high levels of prosperity. The benefit that we see from free markets is contingent on individuals having the right to own and protect property and to benefit from their labor. [Read more...]

Steve Jobs and American Exceptionalism

Apple America capitalism freedom by Ed Feulner -
Steve Jobs, who died yesterday at the too-young age of 56, was a living refutation of all that liberals constantly tell us about our country — that we’re falling behind others and live now in a “post-American world,” as one of Barack Obama’s favorite books puts it in its title.

As anyone who’s ever handled an Apple product or had his life improved by the technological innovations our system has produced in just a decade (that means all of us) will tell you, Jobs and innovators like him epitomize that immeasurable quality the left somehow finds most abject — American exceptionalism.

The meme of the left is that drudgery and mediocrity is not just our future but probably also our just deserts–for being too imperialistic, consumerist, wasteful, patriarchal, or what have you. (For an inexhaustible list of all our ills and sins, please check with the mob gathered at the “Occupy Wall Street” protest.) One should compare this deadened vision with the wonders Jobs wrought. [Read more...]

Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism

Obama liberal failure

Illustration by Chad Crowe

by Shelby Steele -
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times: President Obama is destroying the country. Some say this destructiveness is intended; most say it is inadvertent, an outgrowth of inexperience, ideological wrong-headedness and an oddly undefined character. Indeed, on the matter of Mr. Obama’s character, today’s left now sounds like the right of three years ago. They have begun to see through the man and are surprised at how little is there.

Yet there is something more than inexperience or lack of character that defines this presidency: Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-’60s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism. In this liberalism America’s exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil—an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world. And therefore America’s greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom. [Read more...]