This monologue has created a significant discussion in conservative intellectual circles.
America Needs Virtue before Prosperity Ben Shapiro at NR Jan 8
This sounds far more like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than it does like Ronald Reagan or Milton Friedman. That’s because the democratic socialist movement has a lot in common with the economic populism of the Right. The Marxist Left claims that human failings are the result of private property–based economic systems; therefore, private property–based systems must be destroyed. Social democrats like Sanders and Warren agree, but also acknowledge the inherent power of markets (although Sanders speaks more like a Marxist than a social democrat). Social democrats believe that shackling the power of the market to the redistributive and regulatory power of the state represents the best way forward. That’s why Sanders and Warren use the Nordic states as their models, rather than Cuba or the Soviet Union.
More Populist, More Conservative. Mike Lee National Review Jan 10
Rather than trying to join this debate on one side or the other, it seems to me that conservatives should instead be thinking about how to reconcile the two. First, because I think the Republican party needs to become both more conservative and more populist to meet the challenges the country faces today. And second, because I think the inequalities and injustices Carlson rightly condemns are primarily caused not by the natural operations of the free market, but by elite manipulation of it.
It’s not the free market that is financializing the American economy and empowering Wall Street’s leveraged buyouts of American businesses. It’s the federal government’s preferential tax treatment of corporate debt and guarantee of “too big to fail” bailouts.
It’s not the “invisible hand” giving investment income preferential tax treatment over workers’ wages, even though in a globalized economy that discrepancy can incentivize American investors to create jobs overseas instead of here.
It’s not Adam Smith who simultaneously ended vocational tracking in American high schools while flooding college campuses with students and borrowed dollars that would have been better off elsewhere. Nor did Milton Friedman make it unprofitable for residential real-estate developers to build anything other than mid-rise apartments and McMansions. That’s federal and state policymakers.
The Populism Debates Yuval Levin NR Jan 7
I think that’s a critical point in thinking about the populism wars on the right. There is a tension in American life between goods that need to be kept in some balance, and we have often failed to find that balance lately. Conservatives generally favor market competition and a traditional social order for reasons that make some sense together. The uneasy conjoining of the two is not a new phenomenon, was not invented by the modern conservative movement in the 20th century, and isn’t just a marriage of political convenience. Markets sometimes offer ways to solve problems from the bottom up and to allow for an edifying diversity of solutions to coexist at once, and so can be allied to the logic underlying a commitment to civil society. The market also relies on a stable and orderly society made possible by sturdy families and strong social institutions. And freedom from unduly coercive authority is an essential prerequisite for making moral choices.
And yet, markets and a traditional moral order characterized by commitments to family, faith, community, and country can also be in very great tension with one another. The market values risk-taking and creative destruction that can be very bad for family and community, and it rewards the lowest common cultural denominator in ways that can undermine traditional morality. It seeks the largest possible consumer base in ways often hostile to national boundaries and loyalties. Modern markets can also encourage consolidation in ways that are very far from friendly to civil society. Traditional values, meanwhile, discourage the spirit of competition and self-interested ambition essential for free markets to work, and their adherents sometimes seek to enforce codes of conduct that constrain individual freedom and refuse to conceive of men and women first and foremost as consumers.
The Health of Nations JD Vance NR Jan 7
Of course, the recognition that corporate interests might not always align with civil society’s interests comes from the patron saint of capitalism, Adam Smith. We simply must develop the intellectual ability to understand the way in which law and policy drive outcomes in our society besides creating bad incentives for poor people. Sometimes they create bad incentives for the rich. Sometimes they allow the incentives that already exist to run roughshod over our communities and families. The market, as Smith understood, is merely a tool — a powerful tool, yes. But if we care about the flourishing of our society, and if we value ends besides a larger GDP, then we have to do the difficult work of balancing the competing demands of our values. Instead, many of our intellectuals simply pretend there is no competition — that what is good for markets is good for the rest of our nation. This is a recipe for boring thinking and bad policy.