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Why Free Enterprise Is About Morals, Not Materialism

Arthur Brooks writes at FoxNews.com:
It’s not an easy time to be a free enterprise advocate in America. For years, we thought we had won. After all, almost no self-respecting public figures call themselves socialists anymore. With the advent of the New Democrats, even America’s progressive party was on board with free markets and somewhat limited government. The Reagan era had ended the debate about whether the free market was a force for good in the world. So how did we end up where we are today: a federal debt higher than our GDP, bailing out bankers and passing trillion-dollar stimulus packages, and government consuming more than a third of what America makes? In other words, after two decades of what should have been the best days of free enterprise, how have we slouched towards the brink of full-scale European social welfare statism? It’s tempting to say that we didn’t make the case for free enterprise with enough good studies, or the right data, or through the right ads or messages. But that’s not the problem. The truth is this: We failed to launch a sufficient moral defense of free enterprise. We’ve won the material argument. But when it comes to the moral argument, we’ve let the other side win by forfeit. We have our own moral case and we must make it with full force, before we introduce mere material facts. Free enterprise doesn’t matter just because it’s made America the richest country in history. It matters because it has created an unparalleled system of human flourishing that is a magnet for people all over the world. It matters because it treats people fairly, based on their achievement and not their relationship to the government. It matters because it has lifted people out of desperate poverty by the billions.
Read the remainder here.