In his consistent willingness to advocate the use of government power to prevent the free exchange of values between individuals when the choices others violate his own subjective whim, Rep. Frank Wolf is no friend of Capitalism.

As an instance of this fact, look at his recent call for limiting oil company profits.

If he is such a nice guy who tries to solve problems, why does Rep. Wolf advocate such injustice against businessmen? In a recent opinion piece, conservative intellectual leader Bill Buckley explained the hostility of President Bush toward Capitalism because he “can hardly endorse unrestrained capitalism and pursue the grace of Christ.” Given Rep. Wolf’s application of his faith to public policy, the same premise applies to him as well.

Philosophy professor Andrew Bernstein has a new book which makes the moral case for Capitalism in contradiction to Wolf, Bush, and Buckley. He recently spoke with Stuart Goldsmith about this book titled The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire.

In the book, Bernstein explains the value that Wolf rejects:


    The policy of laissez-faire–of “leave it be”, of “hands off”–is simply the application of the moral principal of individual rights to economics. The principle of individual rights means that consenting adults are free to perform any actions they choose, so long as they do not initiate force or fraud against others. This means that men are legally restricted from criminally interfering with the quest for values undertaken by other men. Economic activity is the production and exchange of goods and services–the goods and services upon which man’s life depends. If men produce and exchange voluntarily, then their mutual pursuit of values is reciprocally enhanced by the productive work of each other.Â

    The government’s proper role in economics is a straightforward application of its broader moral role as the protector of individual rights: by providing a rule of law–by protecting private property and safeguarding contracts–it establishes a legal context conducive to the creation of values. By punishing criminals–and only criminals–by limiting government involvement in the marketplace to its proper function in all areas of human life–to the prevention of the initiation of force or fraud–the government of a properly capitalistic society provides an incalculable benefit to men’s lives: it protects those who create values and restrains those who destroy values or physically interfere with the creators. Since value achievement is the essence of life’s requirements, any governmental policy that promotes it is a boon to man’s life. [p. 212-213]


But if government is not the fixer of everybody’s subjective pain, then what is a congressman like Wolf to do? In the book, Bernstein observes:


    Statists deride the laissez-faire system as “do-nothing government.” Two points must be made to refute this claim. First is that such a government protects individual rights, including property rights, an enormous task and achievement in the service of men’s lives–and one possible only to the government. This is hardly a “do-nothing” policy. Second, such governmental protection liberates the entire population of a society to engage in the creation and exchange of life-giving values, including material ones. The so-called “do-nothing” government is actually a political-economic system of “free-to-do” individuals–of “do much” productive citizens–who, protected by the principle of individual rights, create the enormous abundance so characteristic of all capitalist societies. [p. 213-214]


While Rep. Wolf has been loud and proud about his ability to seize loot from the federal revenue to return to the district, most every time he does so he is actually missing an opportunity to protect our rights by opposing the programs that interfere in the market. It is past time for Rep. Wolf to focus upon the most critical role of legislators, which is the protection of individual rights.

For more about what Capitalism is and by inference Rep. Wolf is not, Stuart Goldsmith’s program on the Solid Vox network is available on-line [Click HERE for the interview with Andrew Bernstein]. In the discussion of how Capitalism is the only moral social/political system, the topics covered included the morality of Capitalism versus the evil of altruism, the failures of government run schools, the historical achievements of Capitalism, and the threat environmentalism poses to individual rights.Â

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