Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom
By Yaron Brook Recorded October 22, 2008, at the National Press Club
Capitalism has an undisputed record of wealth generation, yet it has always functioned under a cloud of moral suspicion. In a culture that venerates Mother Teresa as a paragon of virtue, businessmen sit in stoic silence while their pursuit of profits is denounced as selfish greed.
Society tells businessmen to sacrifice, to serve others, to “give back”—counting on their acceptance of self-interest as a moral crime, with chronic guilt its penance. Is it any wonder that productive giants from John D. Rockefeller to Bill Gates have behaved as if profit-making leaves a moral stain that only tireless philanthropy can launder but never fully remove?
It is time America heard the moral case for laissez-faire capitalism.
Two centuries ago the Founding Fathers established a nation based on the individual’s rights to life, liberty, property—and the selfish pursuit of his own happiness. But neither the Founders nor their successors could properly defend self-interest and the profit motive in the face of moral denunciation. The result has been a slow destruction of freedom in America, leading us to today’s economic mess.
In this lecture in Washington, D.C., Executive Director Yaron Brook demonstrates how Ayn Rand’s revolutionary ethics of rational self-interest supplied the moral foundation that previous proponents of capitalism lacked. Dr. Brook explains why individual rights are crucial for capitalism’s survival—why productivity and profit, the “selfish greed” that conservatives abhor, are not vices but cardinal virtues. He explains why Americans must reject McCain/Obama-style “national service” and instead proudly embrace the radical individualism their lives and happiness require.