“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise,” wrote C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man. “We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
Even if you’ve read that passage many times (like me) you might have glossed over (as I did) the word “enterprise.” Jacqueline Otto explains why it is significant:
Is it possible then, as Lewis asserts, that by making men without chests, we make men that are not inherently moral—who are not capable of being enterprising? Men who do not understand the moral urgency of freedom?
Of course, the power of the use of the word and is that it suggests the interdependency of virtue and enterprise. If we continue to make men without chests, not only will we end up with amoral men—traitors, even—but we will end up will a society not capable of engaging a free market.
We will end up with a people who, like Brooks rightly points out, claim to love free enterprise but who will do nothing to defend it. They will be a people lacking the capacity for freedom.