Washington, D.C.–In a talk delivered last week at the Costa Mesa Hilton in Orange County, California, Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, explained the reasons for the resurgence of big government in America and called for a moral revolution to reduce government to its proper size and function.
According to Dr. Brook, the current level of government involvement in the economy is almost unprecedented in American history. As Dr. Brook noted, even though the current housing and financial crisis was brought about by government regulations, controls, and widespread interference with the markets, all we hear from the left and the right are calls for more government regulations, controls, and interference with the markets.

In Dr. Brook’s view, these calls for bigger and bigger government are due, not to any alleged failures of the market, but to a longtime cultural hostility to its moral basis: the selfish pursuit of profit.

Capitalism and markets, observed Dr. Brook, are all inherently about self-interest and the pursuit of profit. Capitalism encourages and enables selfishness, and as long as our culture looks at profit and self-interest as vices, he argued, big government will always be preferred to free markets.

Dr. Brook also made the point that capitalism has always been defended pragmatically, on the basis that it creates wealth and economic growth–which it does; but it’s time, he said, to defend capitalism on principle, on the basis of its morality, on the basis that it protects the rights of individuals to pursue their own values and allows them freedom to act in their own self-interest.

As Dr. Brook explained, the current crisis is indisputable evidence that we need a massive reduction in the size of government, in the number of regulations and in the level of taxation. But first, he said, we will have to reject the morality of altruism, which holds that self-sacrifice, not self-interest, is the good–and adopt a new morality of rational self-interest, one that says that pursuing our own personal values and goals under freedom is a good thing; and that only a morality compatible with capitalism and private markets will save us from this crisis and prevent an even worse one in the future.

Dr. Brook’s talk is available for free at: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ls_big_government

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