Bill Crawford: Constructive conservatism needed to thwart rise of socialism

What would Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, think of capitalism in America today?

You see, it was Smith’s notion that despite natural greed, individuals in a free, capitalistic society would be led by “reason, principle, conscience” to act morally and compassionately. Capitalism would be the economic mechanism by which wage earners and the middle class would accumulate wealth. While certainly true historically in the United States, and much of the free world, that no longer seems to be the case here, especially since the Great Recession.

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1984’s Lay Letter on the Economy May Be More Relevant Now

Invoking the moral authority derivative of their vocation, prominent Roman Catholic clerics and their emboldened allies are getting a lot of attention for criticizing the capitalist economic system, sometimes quite pointedly. In particular, they are harshly critiquing capitalism in seemingly failing to deliver for the most materially needy among us, as well for the negative effects spiritually for both the needy and those who materially benefit from it. Those lay faithful and their allies who disagree—and would normally be inclined to introduce the many positive aspects of free-market economics into public discourse—feel as if they are on quite the defensive.

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Michael Novak’s ‘Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics’ in the Trump Era

On March 17, 2016, National Review published an open letter titled “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics,”urging Catholics to take a stand against the immensely popular Republican candidate whose upcoming nomination, the letter affirmed, risked destroying the conservative, prolife, and civil center of the Republican Party. Princeton law professor Robert P. George and Catholic journalist George Weigel affixed their name to the bottom of the piece; in addition, Professor George and Weigel’s John Hancock were joined by a veritable “Who’s Who” of Catholics who had traditionally identified as “neo” or moderate social conservatives. One name that was conspicuously absent from the list of signatories was Michael Novak, a man who was, in many ways, the grandfather of Catholic neoconservatism and who had stood shoulder to shoulder with the other four principal Catholic neocons or “theocons,” which included Weigel and Professor George as well as the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

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