Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The morality of capitalism

Brad Thompson, whose series on the failure of modern American conservatism I ran here recently, has just launched his Institute for the Study of Capitalism, to be domiciled at Clemson University.

The news has brought a generally praise-worthy article from the New York Sun and a whole quarrel of philosophers out to impart their view on the morality of capitalism, otherwise known as the system that keeps them fed and watered. Their comments say more about them than they do about capitalism. For example:
  • Princeton University professor, Cornel West, said Adam Smith was "anti-imperialist," which he said was something that those "on the right" generally "don't want to appropriate."
  • "Capitalism is thoroughly immoral and has no moral foundation," said Kirkpatrick Sale, the director of the Middlebury Institute, a think tank that studies "separatism" and "self-determination." "In fact, it celebrates all of what we know of as the seven deadly sins except for sloth."
Less irrelevant were the comments of the director of Manhattan Institute's Center for the American University, James Pierson:
Perhaps the most promising development on campus in recent years has been the creation of various centers and programs dedicated to the study of political liberty and the history of free institutions — for example, the James Madison Program on American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton, the Gerst Program at Duke, the Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College, the Political Theory Project at Brown, and the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization at Colgate.
Professor Thompson himself deserves the final word:
Capitalism is made possible by a limited government that has as its primary purpose the protection of individual rights, which in turn takes the sovereignty of the individual as a moral absolute... Most conservative intellectuals argue that capitalism is good because it works. We think capitalism works because it's moral and just.
Too true. And too easily forgotten.

LINKS: Clemson University Establishes a Think Tank Devoted to Studying the Moral Basis of Capitalism - New York Sun [Hat tip Noodle Food]
CONSERVATISM: A NEW OBITUARY, Part 6 - The consequences of conservatism - Not PC

RELATED: Education, Politics-US, Objectivism, Ethics, Politics

10 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

Professors Thomsons final comment is the funniest. Capitalism is good because it works!?

The reductio of this might be that the Holocaust was bad because it didn't work.

You know you often come across a bit cheerleaderish PC, Capitalism "otherwise known as the system that keeps them fed and watered"

I could use the same argument targeted at those who lived within and criticised totalitarianism.

On the other handd if it's a justification for the blandishments of the project we all enjoy it must be the weakest I've heard for some time.

Really, what a lot of fatuous intellectual rot. To go along with this cloth eared reasoning surely must brand one a moron.

And, I couldn't give a toss if it came from the mouth of a professor.

12/20/2006 11:47:00 am  
Blogger Steve said...

Professors Thomsons final comment is the funniest. Capitalism is good because it works!?

The reductio of this might be that the Holocaust was bad because it didn't work.

You know you often come across a bit cheerleaderish PC, Capitalism "otherwise known as the system that keeps them fed and watered"

I could use the same argument targeted at those who lived within and criticised totalitarianism.

On the other handd if it's a justification for the blandishments of the project we all enjoy it must be the weakest I've heard for some time.

Really, what a lot of fatuous intellectual rot. To go along with this cloth eared reasoning surely must brand one a moron.

And, I couldn't give a toss if it came from the mouth of a professor.

12/20/2006 11:48:00 am  
Blogger Steve said...

Professors Thomsons final comment is the funniest. Capitalism is good because it works!?

The reductio of this might be that the Holocaust was bad because it didn't work.

You know you often come across a bit cheerleaderish PC, Capitalism "otherwise known as the system that keeps them fed and watered"

I could use the same argument targeted at those who lived within and criticised totalitarianism.

On the other hand if it's a justification for the blandishments of the project we all enjoy it must be the weakest I've heard for some time.

Really, what a lot of fatuous intellectual rot. To go along with this cloth eared reasoning surely must brand one a moron.

And, I couldn't give a toss if it came from the mouth of a professor.

12/20/2006 11:50:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

If I may paraphrase myself here, your comments, Steve, say more about yourself than they do about capitalism.

12/20/2006 02:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

"What a lot of fatuous rot".

Funny. That's what I think every time Michael Cullen opens his mouth. He produces sweet FA himself but steals from everybody else who does. You know, capitalists. Producers. People who actually do something.

Still, somebody's gotta make the money for him to redistribute so he can get re-elected to do it all over again, eh! Plenty of people sitting on their collective asses to buy off!

Bloody capitalism. Supply meeting demand's such a shit. Much better to have the state decide what we need and then produce it. Oh bugger .. the Soviets beat me to that one; and they were so bloody successful at it, too.

Don't you go buying any Christmas presents, please! Can't have you supporting evil capitalists!

But it's good to see that you're doing things in triplicate. Very bureaucratic.

Cullen would undoubtedly approve. :)

12/20/2006 03:47:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Yes I do tend to be a bit repetitive.

God forbid anyone disagree with a priori truths PC - I guess we can label such people as (like me), marxists, or fuckwits or whatever.

At least we must credit Capitalism (capital C) for the joyful stress free easy motoring wealthy truely free lives we (insert universal quantifier here) all live and enjoy.

bah humbug

12/21/2006 07:14:00 am  
Blogger Steve said...

... to paraphrase myself (I love the line thanks PC)

Unlike Paris Hilton, I don't always go out wearing my makeup.

12/21/2006 07:15:00 am  
Blogger Eddie said...

If capitalism/(the democractic form) valued individual rights, it wouldn't define a corporation as a person, which is the situation here in the USA and is the source of much of the corruption and degradation of our democratic system. Then the question is, does capitalism require democracy?

12/22/2006 06:44:00 am  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

If I may paraphrase myself here, your comments, Steve, say more about yourself than they do about capitalism.

Indeed, Peter.

"What a lot of fatuous rot".

Funny. That's what I think every time Michael Cullen opens his mouth. He produces sweet FA himself but steals from everybody else who does. You know, capitalists. Producers. People who actually do something.


Indeed. If you read some of the blog posts I added to my blog today you'll see that Cullen is far from being my friend while capitalists are my friends.

If capitalism/(the democractic form) valued individual rights, it wouldn't define a corporation as a person, which is the situation here in the USA and is the source of much of the corruption and degradation of our democratic system. Then the question is, does capitalism require democracy?

Eddie, America does NOT have true capitalism. Look at my blog fThe Moral Foundations of Capitalism (the name of the post I am referring to).

12/22/2006 05:26:00 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Where is the Not PC fan club link? I think you have your first member pc.

12/24/2006 03:57:00 pm  

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