Democratic-Capitalism

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!

Oy Vey! Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

Last week I had a wonderful time playing golf at Stone Creek near Oregon City. It is a beautiful course, and I usually play it pretty well. I shot a good score and had fun with three friends. At the end of the afternoon we had a bite to eat before we braved the traffic during our trip home. As usual we had a great conversation, one that included the current political situation. None of us like Trump, and it seemed like the three of them would be willing to vote for Joe Biden. I told them I don’t think he will make it. I really believe the Democrats have move so far to the left that Biden is too conservative for them. I could be wrong though. So, I asked them who would they vote for? All of them said the same thing, Oy Vey!

Oy Vey is a Yiddish phrase expressing dismay or exasperation. A similar phase would be “woe is me.” As I look at the people running for President on the Democratic side I am filled with woe. The candidates I will focus on in this short article are Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, O’Rourke, and Harris. I do think Biden is a front runner, but Warren is charging hard and could be Trump’s opponent in 2020. The following are my very simple thoughts on the candidates.

Biden is 76 years old. He seems very healthy, but there is some question on his ability to focus. There have been concerns expressed about Biden’s rambling during his answers at the debate. He seems like a nice enough guy, but the party has shifted to the left and I don’t think it will let him be the center left politician that he wants to be. I am less concerned about Biden as I am with the Democratic party.

Sanders lost me when he said he was a Democratic-Socialist. I am a Democratic-Capitalist, so I could not support him at all. He is promising Medicare-for-all, free college tuition, while saying Billionaires should not exist. The other day I was driving some place, and I observed an old beat up Ford with a Bernie 2020 bumper sticker. I thought that was an appropriate objective lesson for where the Democrats want to take us.

Warren scares the daylights out of me. She is a good communicator and seems to be very charismatic. Although she claims to be a Capitalist, her policies demonstrate otherwise. I think she has some interesting ideas, but once again she is a Democrat. And the Democratic platform will lead us to a place we have never been in this country.

Pete Buttigieg is an interesting individual. He is young and is running on the premise of a new generation of leaders. Some describe his campaign as unable to distinguish itself from the mid-tier candidates. While others see him as just someone who wants to win something, anything. However, he is someone who can recalibrate his ideas. He has seemed to move away from Medicare-for-all. The Intelligencer describes him as, “social liberal and comfortable with corporate interests, namely the tech industry.” I just can’t embrace him as a President that will represent the best interests of the United States.

O’Rourke is a nut case. He lost to Ted Cruz during the Texas Senate race. It was closer than most thought, but he still lost. Now he wants to be President. He has rebooted his run for President by focusing on gun safety and control. He said, “Hell yes we’re going to take your AR-15’s,” which got me to thinking how many other personal freedoms will be taken away from the people of the USA. This is what scares me about all of the Democratic candidates.

Kamala Harris lost my vote in the way she handled the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. She and Cory, Spartacus, Booker lost any credibility with me that they may have had by unjustly using conjecture and unproven allegations to disparage a man’s reputation.

In 2016 I lost a colleague as a friend because I would not vote for Hillary. But I could not vote for Trump either. In 2020 I am truly afraid. I like what is happening economically in our country right now, but I don’t like some of the tribalism that is occurring. Much of it was already happening before Trump became President but some of his actions have exasperated an already tenuous situation. Just like in 2016 I just don’t know who I will vote for.

As we were driving to the beach today, I was thinking about our country and the problems. As a conservative white male, I was playing the victim card in my mind. Everybody is blaming people like me for all of our problems. But I finally came to the conclusion that there are just too many variables to blame just the white male. However, there is one group of people I think has culpability in our current situation. That is the press.

CNN on the left is suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. I think most of the Democrats are too. They just can’t seem to get over 2016. Fox on the right has no problem printing or televising hit pieces on their favorite targets Omar and AOC. Instead of reporting the news they are both creating narratives. Narratives that drive people to do not so nice stuff.

All I can say is Oy Vey! I wish things were different, and I hope they do change. I think there are many of us out there like me. They are scared and concern. They, just like me, say come quickly Lord Jesus.

And that is my thought for the day!

Hello Again!

Wow, what a summer. I am now on my second year of retirement. I am writing this on October 28th, 2019, and it is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit outside, so I am motivated to start writing again. I had a conversation with my Uncle yesterday, I had to tease him a bit about Tiger woods winning his 82 PGA tournament. During our conversation he mentioned how he is enjoying my son’s podcast, “Getting Work to Work,” and stated I should start writing again. I have been thinking about it, and decided I need the intellectual stimulation. You can only play so much golf. So here I go.

The purpose of this blog is to demonstrate how business is not just business, but it is personal. All business involves people. What I mean by business is any activity that provides a product or service to a customer. Because of this broad definition, I can write about for-profit, non-profit, political, educational and Religious organizations because they all have a business side. This involves the use of resources, including people, by the organization to efficiently and effectively pursue its business model. However, I also like to look at both macro and micro issues facing the above described organizations. Today’s re-inauguration of my blog will be taking a macro look at current issues.

I have just finished a great book I will be using for my Macroeconomics course at Multnomah University during the Spring Semester. The Virtues of Capitalism by Austin Hill and Scott Rae does an excellent job of describing Adam Smith’s idea of a moral market. In other words, a market-based economy influenced by human culture and government. I believe that if business controlled itself using basic human moral sentiments, we would not need the stifling levels of government intrusion proposed by Comrade Warren. Over the next few blogs I will be discussing this more fully. However, today’s blog will be exploring the book I just started.

The City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era was written in 2010 by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner and they seem to have the perspective I have been looking for. Over the last few months I have been struggling with the position of the Church in our current culture. I definitely do not like the so-called Christian right, but I am on the conservative side, I am old that is what we do. However, I find I do not like the Christian left either. Most people I know that hold a left leaning perspective have left their Christian faith for crystals or other such nonsense, or they present their faith as a part of socialist dogma and call it Christianity. That greatly troubles me.

Gerson and Wehner captured my thoughts in the following words. “The faithful in America have entered a period of transition.” My gosh, that is what I have been thinking. I may not have agreed completely with the Political Theology of the Christian right in the 1970’s, but these leaders at the time did encourage us to engage in the political processes. I did not like the us versus them of the fundamentalist agenda of those days, and I definitely don’t like that the Christian right is now controlled by the GOP.

However, I am just as concerned about those Christians who identify with some kind of social justice gospel, especially when the Churches who were early adopters of this agenda have all “rejected the biblical gospel for social activism” (Gerson and Wehner, pg. 20). The following comment is what captured my attention this morning and put words to my undisciplined thoughts. In describing those of us Christians who are uncomfortable with today’s liberal Protestantism, [we] “sense that both the religious right and the religious left may be treading the same path – baptizing someone else’s policy preferences and calling the results Christian.”

We latch onto women’s rights, which is a good thing, but we sacrifice the rights of unborn children. We focus on injustices of the past and ignore how we can create bridges, instead of barriers, by recognizing that we are all created in the image of God. And we confuse the human rights associated with the Constitution, with Biblical truth of marriage of one man and one woman. It is not easy to be a Christian in this day and age. And in our rush to be a part of the City of Man we are willing to give up uniqueness as followers of Christ to fit in with those who are building a tower of Babel.

I am so happy to be writing again. It helps me to clarify my thoughts. I will not apologize for my belief in Jesus Christ. I will walk that narrow road in the middle. I will not be swallowed up by those who wish to politicize the gospel on either side, and I will not be moved from the truth as God presents it is His revelation. Also, I will not be swayed from my belief that a free market system is the best out those available to us. One that allows us the freedom to choose what we want to do to make money, but also is controlled by a culture of good behavior first and government regulation as needed.

Time to get busy again writing. I am happy to be back.

And that is my thought for the day.