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Make the Moral Case for Capitalism

January 31, 2019 in Economics

By John A. Allison

John A. Allison

Progressives want to accelerate the country’s century-long
shift toward socialism with a long list of policies:
Medicare-for-all, “free” college, government-run energy
production and prescription-drug manufacturing, federal job and
housing guarantees, dramatically higher tax rates and new wealth
taxes, and a $15 minimum wage.

Conservatives have opposed these socialist proposals by pointing
out how much they will cost. For instance, they’ve trumpeted
a Mercatus Center study estimating that
Medicare-for-all would roughly double the federal budget. They have
explained how high tax rates would hurt economic growth. And
they’ve demonstrated how a $15 wage floor would hurt small
businesses and reduce job opportunities.

These arguments are all correct. But they do not address the
root of why these policy proposals are wrong. By merely citing the
financial or economic challenges of implementing them,
conservatives cede the moral high ground and tacitly accept the
Left’s premises.

Collectivism is backed by
compulsion, where one side wins and the other loses, rather than
voluntary trade for mutual benefit.

To win the battle of ideas, conservatives must fight on
philosophical grounds, explaining why these policies are immoral.
They must make the case based on ethics rather than economics
because the latter is downstream from the former. It is only a
matter of time before a purely economic or logical argument loses
to a moral or emotional one.

In practice this means explaining why the fundamental principle
of collectivism underlying these socialist proposals is immoral: It
violates the individual rights upon which societal progress and
happiness are based. Collectivism is backed by compulsion, where
one side wins and the other loses, rather than voluntary trade for
mutual benefit.

One of the most compelling moral arguments in favor of the free
market is that it is the system most conducive to allowing people
to pursue their dreams and creativity, which — for the
overwhelming majority of people — manifest themselves through
professional work.

In work, this creative pursuit is known as entrepreneurship. It
is responsible for raising human society and living standards. Yet
it is possible only to the degree that markets are free. Why?
Because in order to innovate — by definition — you must
be free to disagree.

Consider Medicare-for-all. The Medicare for All Act, which was supported by
two-thirds of Democrats in the House of Representatives last
Congress, states, “No institution may be a participating
provider unless it is a public or not-for-profit
institution.” This would mean that doctors and medical
entrepreneurs would be required to follow the government’s
medical policies and procedures. There would be no room in such a
system for entrepreneurs who disagree with the status quo, meaning
an end to the medical …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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