Open Markets Open Human Potential
Though the freedom to succeed – and the freedom to fail – are inextricably linked to America’s prosperity, the operative concept is ‘freedom.’
Capitalism needs freedom like a body needs oxygen, and for the society that allows it to breathe deeply prosperity becomes a mere byproduct. The true wealth of capitalism isn’t really material at all, but found in capitalism’s inherent embrace of the dignity of human potential.
The freedom to succeed or fail on the strength of one’s own ability and effort is a central tenet under-girding American exceptionalism, that defining sense of our existence as an expression of God’s creation, endowed with a sovereignty that belongs not to monarchs or governments but to the common people.
That “common” sense was infused into our national psyche the moment the Mayflower made berth in the New World. It has since been carried on the backs of those who dared to risk for the reward they sought, whether in the bright-eyed determination of Manifest Destiny, the vision of Carver, Edison, and Wright, or the blindness of Black Friday.
Capitalism - as a method, as a means, as a motive - is woven into the fabric of American liberty. At our founding, Adam Smith taught a truth that we ignore at our own peril even today – that only free markets increase productivity.
But, oh how we have strayed. The Founders knew that government couldn’t control an economy without controlling people, and ultimately without resorting to force. Can you say “IRS audit”? Yet, today our breathing is labored. Many ardently believe more regulations, socialistic planning, and ever-increasing taxation are the price we pay for civilization. We posit instead that it is a faulty civilization that excessively taxes those who produce in order to fulfill that which its citizens fail to do for one another. It is just as de Tocqueville warned, “since every individual is the best judge of his own interest, society must not protect him too carefully, lest he should come to rely on it and so saddle society with a task it cannot perform.”
It is productivity that justifies the effort of the individual. It is productivity that validates the constraints of civil self-governance and it is productivity that, in turn, persuades and enables us to extend ourselves as a civil society. Thus, as we rush forward in an expression of our economic freedom, we are willingly constrained by those who can neither run as fast, nor compete at all. But restrict that freedom, the “invisible hand” of the market, and the visible hand of government looms large and cold.
Reagan had it right when he said we should decide, “…Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Common Sense Issues believes our American experiment of civil society, structured by ordered liberty and invested with economic freedom, is still the most unique idea in human history. That idea, that American exceptionalism, remains the most valuable testament to the power of human potential, and the most powerful economic force in history.
That’s why we’re seeking like-minded citizens to join us in a common sense movement to defend the primacy of the market over greater government control in defense of economic freedom.