"Can we assume that a thing is right if it is legal? But slavery was once legal; Nazism was legal. Well, can we assume a thing is right if it is endorsed by majority rule? But a lynch mob is majority rule. Is a thing sure to be right, then, if it comes about through the democratic process? But fascist dictator Juan Perón of Argentina was democratically elected by majority rule on two occasions. . . . Well, how about the Constitution? But again we run into difficulties, for the Constitution can be amended to say anything the society wishes it to say. Suppose, for example, the Constitution were amended to permit the lynching of blacks—would this practice become ethically correct merely because the Constitution permitted it? The moral basis of capitalism is the right of each individual to live his own life, for his own sake."
The Incredible Bread Machine: A Study of Capitalism, Freedom, and the State
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Reader comments about this quote:
The here specific quote is a great stand alone explanation of natural law. The first, of all definitions of capitalism, is an ability to act with out the interference of a disinterested third party government. Capitalism is at law, protected by justice and property rights (your rights end at my nose for example). If an act criminally harms another (dumping toxins into a stream for example), it is outside the lawful scope of capitalism. State entities, acting as sovereign individuals (corporations for example) can not act within the scope of capitalism because, they are government. True capitalism can not exist in an atmosphere of government induced debt (Federal Reserve Notes for example) That crony capitalism miss-defined by socialist's religious dogma (profit at any cost, by way of example but not by way of limitation) is a misdirection lie that serves to enslave societal degenerates.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Capitalism, the principal by which we endeavor to better our selves and create a more comfortable life, combined with a Justice system should be the goal of every moral human. Conversely, majority rule is a dangerous farce when the majority is fairly brain washed by an agendized media to believe they are "entitled" to whatever they need.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    If only we had a court system that would read our constitution exactly for what it says.
     -- Cal, lewisville, tx     
    It was fine right up to where you attempt to claim that capitalism is inherently ethically pure & correct... this claim is a baseless leap of (non-)logic. Capitalism may or may not be a good system, but that is not even remotely supported by this quote.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
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    The quote is right on. I am afraid it is Reston that makes a baseless leap of non-logic to read "capitalism is inherently ethically pure and correct" -- I did not see that anywhere. The word capitalism really made its debut in the common vernacular by communists -- I cannot remember ever reading anything from one of the founding fathers with the word capitalism in it... The 'moral basis' is the RIGHT of each individual to live his own life for his own sake -- the stretch somehow that a group of individuals is any more ethically pure or correct than the individuals that comprise it is only something a collectivist can somehow comprehend -- it defies logic.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer...there's no way to fathom what goes on in Reston's head...but I'll bet it looks like a Van Gogh in there. ;-)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    The 'A' from Reston, I'm sure many of us are not quite sure what your: "this claim is a baseless leap of (non-)logic", in reference to capitalism, means. Would you please define capitalism so the rest of us might see what is logically and inherently unethical and incorrect concerning capitalism ? You never know, your definition just might be sufficiently persuasive that, the libertarian lovers of liberty that post here, would change their mind on capitalism and come to a whole new conclusion whether capitalism may or may not be a good system. Hmmm, maybe those of us that think society is made up of individuals with inalienable rights might change our minds and make socialism our religion of choice, or not.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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