Acton Institute Powerblog

Capitalism and the opportunity for a more united conservative front

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Last week the Heritage Foundation hosted an event featuring Samuel Gregg, the Acton Institute’s director of research, in which he highlighted the importance of providing not only an economic justification for capitalism but also a moral justification. At Juicy Ecumenism, Mia Steupert considers Gregg’s talk in light of the recent debate among conservatives:

Gregg discussed this topic in the framework of Alexis De Tocquevilleand Michael Novak’s commentary on the moral justifications of capitalism. Gregg mainly focused on outlining Novak’s views on the connection of Christianity, democracy, and free markets as a moral justification for the system of capitalism. In Novak’s premier work, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, he discussed how the human condition needed to be included in any theory regarding the political economy in order for the theory to be valid. This is why both Gregg and Novak think socialism is not only an economically flawed but a morally flawed theory as well. According to Novak, capitalism doesn’t require a top-down planning system that replaces free will/individual choice with a “God-like,” political religion like socialism does. Gregg went on to discuss how Novak believed that the preservation of democracy and freedom depended on individual freedom and morality that makes up a country’s culture. In the past America’s culture has been rooted in Jewish and Christian thought. To Novak, a Catholic himself, Christianity provided the perfect culture to balance freedom and morality where the free markets would be embedded in a Christian culture that molded people’s attitudes towards non-hedonistic ends.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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