Yaron Brook on the Moral Foundation of Freedom

Forbes has published a good article by Yaron Brook titled “From Flat World to Free World.” Following a brief survey of the decline of economic freedom and the expansion of nationalism, both globally and in America, Brook points to the underlying cause of the problem and indicates the only solution.

[W]e live in a culture that lauds self-sacrifice, community service and “giving back” as its moral ideals. Businessmen who selfishly pursue profits, in contradiction to those ideals, are consigned to a moral dungeon from which they can only hope to escape on evenings and weekends. This is why Barack Obama can get away with belittling the “money culture,” his wife can smugly counsel youth to shun “corporate America” and John McCain can brag about working “out of patriotism, not for profit”….

Two centuries ago, the Founding Fathers blazed the path to a capitalist future by creating a nation based on the individual’s right to life, liberty, property and the selfish pursuit of his own personal happiness.

For the first time, a nation’s social system embodied approval of profit-seeking, the lifeblood of capitalism. America’s founding principles, all but forgotten today, facilitated the explosive economic globalization of the 19th century and remain our only hope for freedom in the 21st century.

Those founding principles withered because no one could morally defend self-interest. For individual rights to prevail in politics, nothing less than a revolution in ethics will be required—a bloodless revolution—not of arms, but of ideas. You’ll know that struggle is over when businessmen are finally viewed not as moral pariahs or ciphers but as paragons of virtue, precisely because they pursue profits.

Read the whole thing (and a few worthy readers’ comments) here.


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