Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Anti-Capitalist Intellectual

A September article in the New York Sun describes the mission of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, and also illustrates the primary problem: most of the intellectual elite in America are deeply opposed to capitalism.

"Capitalism is thoroughly immoral and has no moral foundation," said Kirkpatrick Sale, the director of the Middlebury Institute, a think tank that studies separatism and self-determination. "In fact, it celebrates all of what we know of as the seven deadly sins except for sloth."

"All fundamental human rights have material and institutional conditions," a professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, Martha Nussbaum, said. "There would be no such thing as private property, for example, without government protection of property from trespass and other damages. There would be no freedom of travel if government did not maintain the highways in a safe condition, enforce traffic regulations, and so forth."

She added, "Early capitalists thought parents should be free to use their children for labor; we now think that government must require all children to go to school, no matter what the parents want. The story of the 20th century has been the story of the gradual rejection of the idea of minimal government in favor of a capitalism that protects 'human capabilities,' meaning the ability of people to live a decent life and enjoy their rights on a basis of equality with others."

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