Recently I wondered if a rag-tag and informal “Reason-Rights Coalition”—made up of assorted atheists, skeptics, religious secularists, Objectivists, libertarians, and civil libertarians—could jointly support a culture of reason (in an era of fake news and “alternative facts”), a pro-human orientation, freedom of speech, secular institutions, and related values.
I continue to think that this nascent coalition already exists, albeit informally, and advances various shared values. I hope that drawing attention to it will encourage people in it (or potentially in it) to promote each others’ relevant work and to open up new lines of discussion with each other. Put simply, we need each other in this dangerous era, and we can learn from each other. Continue reading “Can Capitalists and Leftists Find Common Liberal Ground?”
Thankfully, the Tea Partiers are now taking useful action in politics, rather than holding endless rallies. For the Occupiers, holding endless protests is their political action. I think the Occupations, often violent, law-breaking, trashy affairs, don’t ultimately do much to help the leftist cause. But they do help define the debate in America: many people now openly debate the merits of socialism and capitalism, and that is a good thing. It’s about time we got back to fundamentals.
I visited Occupy Wall Street in New York on November 3, where I captured several interviews. Note that, while I ask some challenging questions and editorialize a bit, my goal here was not to debate but to interview. It always irritated me when journalists covered the Tea Parties without actually talking to the Tea Partiers. So I wanted to give the Occupiers the chance to say what’s on their mind. In many cases, their positions are more subtle and nuanced than perhaps many of their opponents tend to recognize. Here my main goal is to present the Occupation case; later I’ll pursue the discussion more forcefully.
The Objective Standard has published my latest article, “The Justice of Income Inequality Under Capitalism.” I begin by asking, “Why do many [Wall Street] Occupiers oppose some forced wealth transfers and advocate others?” The typical “Occupier” advocates forced wealth transfers from “the rich” to the less rich — but that “occupation” position is wrong on moral (and economic) grounds.
I point out, “[T]he income inequality under tyranny is fundamentally different from that under capitalism. One arises from looting and forcing; the other from producing and thinking.” (I distinguish capitalists from those “who wield political power to seize subsidies and hamstring their competitors.”)