FIRST, Believers in freedom in the area of enterprise are being given the opportunity to better formulate their arguments and to present a side of free market capitalism through a moral lens that reveals its innate “compassionate” side, to show the side of free market dynamics that naturally tends to work to the benefit of everyone who participates in, and is affected by, a given market.
SECOND, The complaints against free market capitalism have been so strong, so loud, and so predominant in the public discussion that it has forced the free marketeers, who might have brushed aside the concerns in the absence of such pressure, to begin to evaluate and address actual abuses of the capitalistic ideal with real and responsible policy analysis that can result in a freer and more compassionate planet.
It is not enough to say, as I sometimes tend to do, “Leave me alone. Let me be free.” We must formulate, and effectively communicate, our values and policy proposals in ways that address the moral side of the argument and show that the results we are looking for in terms of compassion, kindness, and moral virtue, are best served through freedom rather than ever advancing government control.
That said, we proponents of freedom over ever increasing centralized control, must remember that the degree of liberty that a society can bear is directly proportionate to its character. By that, I mean that a people who will not govern themselves will be governed by others. The order of society demands it. Thus, freedom is not anarchy. Anarchy produces tyrants.
THIRD, We are being forced to seek the balance of the proper level of governmental regulation and personal freedom that allows as much liberty as our current level of self-government will enable us to bear.
Call me an optimist, but this current divisive climate may, in the end, bring us closer to a place of sanity than the current insanity would seem to suggest.
(Leck Heflin is the president of Pontis, Inc., seeking to bring the uplifting power of free market principles to bear on the oppressive poverty of Central America.)
Many significant new resources are attempting to address these aspects of the current debate. Some of them are:
- The Road to Freedom, by Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute
- Defending the Free Market – The Moral Case for a Free Economy, by Rev Robert Sicrico, President of the Acton Institute
- On the Destiny of Nations – a new book on economics coming out within the next few weeks by my friend Dennis Peacocke, President and Founder of Strategic Christian Services