A Philosopher's Warning
From JR Nyquist:
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the Brazilian philosopher, and president of the Inter-American Institute, Olavo de Carvalho. During the conversation I suggested that something is wrong with our thinking today; that we don’t worship in the same way, or obey the rules in the same way, or observe common courtesy as we once did. “To someone like me,” he began, “who visited this country in the 1980s, and came back to live here in 2005, the changes that the American mind has undergone in recent decades are really shocking.”
Carvalho recommended that I read Tamar Frankel’s book, Trust and Honesty: America's Business Culture at the Crossroad, which, he explained, “describes the alarming decline of moral standards in the American business world....” According to Frankel's book, the erosion of trust and honesty has to do with a rising acceptance and justification of fraudulent practices. "What has changed," she writes, "is the attitude towards dishonesty and breach of trust. Today, there is a greater acceptance and more justification of dishonesty." How did this come about? With the removal of certain barriers to fraud, temptation has increased.
Carvalho has his own insights into the causes of moral and intellectual deterioration in America: “One of the factors that has brought about this change, with its highly corrosive consequences in the daily lives of Americans, was the fashionable ‘neo-liberalism,' which saw the business world as a self-regulatory power, able to override morality, religion, and culture and to dictate standards of conduct based on the supposedly miraculous power of market laws. What made the greatness of America was not just the free market economy, but a synthesis of this with Christian morals and with a culture that included love of country and family. Separated from these regulating forces, the capitalist economy becomes an engine of self-destruction, which is exactly what is happening today.”
Undoubtedly, there is truth in the assertion that traditional American society has collapsed, being replaced by “the open society,” so named by George Soros and Karl Popper. According to Carvalho, the open society defines itself as “not recognizing any transcendent values and by leaving everything at the mercy of economic conveniences – conveniences that are something alleged even to justify the very demolition of the free market and its replacement by the welfare state, based upon taxation and debt.” In other words, Carvalho is saying that the free market doesn’t make men good. It does not train them to be moral. It does not bother to defend itself against socialism. Those elements in society that previously instilled moral values are no longer as effective, if they are effective at all...
Read the rest.