12th August 2013
Classical liberalism is compassionate, ethical (even religious) capitalism
Over the past few weeks it is becoming clearer to me that without a strong foundation in ethics and compassion, a purely market-based competitive approach could well take us into a moral black hole. Essentially this distinguishes utility into two types: utility that adds real value to mankind and utility that adds to one's pride.
In many ways, the idea of compassion is included under the concept of accountability and justice, but it is worthwhile to consider its implications separately.
Without such compassion, competition becomes cut-throat competition (literally cutting others' throats). Competition degenerates into competition for false pride. I particularly refer to the idea of nationalism/master race/religious pride, etc.
Without such compassion, scientific knowledge will become a tool for control over other humans.
Without such compassion, we will lose the only thing in us (our vision, humanity and kindness) that distinguishes us from mere animals.
I’m thinking here mainly about the evil of Social Darwinism and eugenics.
For someone to be killed just because he or she was a little bit disabled, or sterilised just because he or she was a little bit less able than the rest of us, is repugnant to the classical liberal. Founded as he is on a firm belief in the equality and improvability of EACH individual, and optimism for the future of mankind, the classical liberal is perhaps the most compassionate human being around.
His compassion is reflected in many ways, but by his desire to establish systems of governance and justice that allow each of us to achieve our potential.
He also insists on a social minimum for those who are entirely incapable of sustaining themselves without support. The eugenist would have none of this “wastage” of our resources – for a social minimum. According to him, if you can’t survive the competition of the economy and the competition of biological evolution, then you are a dead end and must be discarded.
The classical liberal entirely opposes such a view. He challenges us to find solutions that are consistent with the highest levels of humanity and ethics.
This view is consistent with the best idea in ALL religions. In that sense the classical liberal is extremely religious.