I know I have written about this subject before, but after a conversation with one of my readers, my Uncle, I thought I’d better clarify what I mean by a Democratic-Capitalist. I have come to the conclusion that I am one while reading Michael Novak’s wonderful work “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism.” In his book Novak demonstrates why the United States thrived while adhering to the principles of Democratic-Capitalism, and why I think the current policies of the Democratic party are so dangerous.
To Novak, Democratic-Capitalism is made up of three systems in one. “a predominantly market economy, a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and a system of cultural institutions moved by the ideals of liberty and justice for all.” Novak goes on to strengthen his definition, “In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is pluralistic and, in its largest sense, liberal.” Novak is not talking about the progressive style of liberal espoused by the Democratic party, he means liberal in the classic sense, advocating for civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom.
Novak makes the case that “political democracy is compatible in practice only with a market economy.” I totally agree with his statement. I also agree with Novak’s argument that modern Democracy and modern Capitalism “proceed from identical historical impulses. These impulses are familiar to us. First, there is an impulse to limit the power of the state. Having just visited Boston I observed where the Boston massacre occurred, and where the Boston tea party happened. Our country’s founders “sought liberation from the crippling taxation, heavy bureaucracy, and dreary regulations of state and church.” Our beginnings as a country was to stand against the injustice of the British overlords that were stifling our economic and personal freedoms.
The second impulse involves the desire to “liberate the energies of individuals and independently organized communities.” People want to be able to make choices for themselves. Each of us cry out for self-government and free markets where we can make the decisions necessary to have a decent and meaningful life. This is why I am a Democratic-Capitalist.
The free market, balanced by a thoughtful polity, and moderated by a moral sentiment, as Adam Smith stated, is the best system for our country. Like I said in my last blog, I saw a beat up Ford driving down the street with a Bernie 2020 sticker. To me it was so appropriate. The economic policies that Bernie is proposing will create just that type of result.
In 2015 during his last run for President, Bernie made a big deal out of Denmark. He was proposing that we could be Socialist like the Danes. However, the Danish folks didn’t like that. Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who was the Danish prime minister at the time, stated at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that Sanders should stop calling Denmark Socialist. Lars stated, “I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of Socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a Socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”
As I stated in my last blog, I am very afraid of the current crop of the Democratic party’s candidates for president. However, I am even more afraid of the Democratic Party platform. Where is the candidate who will support a market based economy and help create a polity that encourages an equal opportunity, not equal result, and that is the person I will vote for. I am a Democratic-Capitalist because that is the best system available to us.
And that is my thought for today!