Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Don't Get the Religious Right's Take on Free Markets

My evangelical Christian sparring partner ChrisB tells me his one of his reasons for preferring free markets to regulation: is “the belief that the people in government are no less wicked than those in business and usually not as bright.”

As an aside, I find it ironic that anyone who would vote for George Bush and Sarah Palin would be criticizing the lack of bright people in government. When you vote for people who are convinced that government cannot do anything right, you shouldn’t be surprised when it doesn’t.

As far as comparative morality goes, I agree that people in government and people in business have an equal capacity for wickedness. I just have a very difficult time seeing how that fact provides any justification for arbitrarily choosing to allow the latter group to pursue its interests unchecked. The Constitution was designed to provide checks and balances so that man’s propensity to pursue self-aggrandizement at the expense of the common good could be curbed and channeled. However, the only check on the wickedness of businessmen is the government.

I couldn’t help reflecting on ChrisB’s comment as I was reading a post on Barry Ridholtz’s blog titled Why Financial Reform Died: “Banks Run Congress.” Despite the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, it is looking increasingly less likely that there will be any meaningful reform legislation. This is due entirely to the fact that the free market ideology that has held sway over the last thirty years has allowed the wicked business people that the religious right so willingly accommodates to acquire complete control of the wicked government people of whom the religious right is so terrified.


  1. I don't recall saying anyone should be "unchecked." But power really does corrupt, and most of the regulation in our country is handled by very unaccountable people.

  2. The problem isn't that they are unaccountable. The problem is that they are accountable to the industries that they regulate rather than to the people who the regulations should be protecting.