Justice and Righteousness
10/22/13 at 12:21 AM 2 Comments

Good Ethics Leads to Good Economics

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As one reads the works of Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas he will eventually realize that economics and politics are sub-disciplines of moral theology/philosophy. Despite all of the mathematics in contemporary economics, there is no getting away from the fact that it is still moral philosophy. Consequently, every economic decision is value laden. This is not to say that economics is an arbiter of morality, but it is to say that a good economic decision reflects the use of phronesis (or practical wisdom), which is both a moral and intellectual virtue. The man of character is one who normally acts in accordance with virtue. Consequently, one who is a good man will generally not allow himself to make many bad economic decisions.

Aristotle believed that one can have the political virtues without having the moral virtues because there are different kinds of government. Consequently, for Aristotle, one can be a good statesman without being a good man. Neither Augustine nor Thomas Aquinas would agree with Aristotle on this point. Because of Christianity’s influence on our country, it was just understood that to be a good statesman, one had to be a good man. At least, until Bill Clinton came along. He argued that character does not matter. Most of the electorate bought this argument until Monica Lewinski became an embarrassment that they could not ignore.

The man of character will normally be influenced by virtue of the moral, intellectual or political type. The Christian is guided by the theological virtues of Christian faith, Christian hope and Christian love. All of this does not mean that the good man never has lapses in judgment, but such instances are rare. If, on the other hand, one has many bad ideas, all of the time, and then does all that is within their power to make them happen. Then in all likelihood he is a bad man. In other words, these are just bad people who can (under the right circumstances) appear to be good.

Aristotle argued that a government’s expenditures should be less than its revenue. He understood that debt was an evil that should not be undertaken lightly, especially by governments. Adam Smith, who was also a moral philosopher argued that government should only spend money on three things; national defense (the first duty of a sovereign), a legal/ judicial system, and public works. Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers of the USA would agree with both Aristitle and Adam Smith. In more recent times, Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart are two economists whose research shows that once debt gets to 90% of GDP that economic growth slows down substantially. Despite some of the protestations of economists like Paul Krugman, their basic argument is correct.

Most of those on the Right would agree with Aristotle, Adam Smith, Rogoff and Reinhart. Those members of the Republican Party who took a stand against Obamacare showed not only moral and intellectual character, but civic character as well. The fact that Republicans in the Senate did not stand up and support the Republicans in the House of Representatives shows that the Senators lack either moral or intellectual character. As such, they might fulfill Aristotle’s ideal of a good statesman, but they fail the test of being good men.

In contrast, the Democratic Party has specialized in the Machiavellian approach to politics, by merely seeking to appear virtuous. Many of them do appear virtuous, but they are pro death, pro homosexuality, pro socialism and against God. The leftist media goes out of their way to do everything to help perpetuate the myth, by helping these miscreants appear virtuous rather than the vicious cretins that they actually are. The media says that Democrats and those on the left are wise, high- minded and that they want what is best for the people. At the same time, the media also perpetuates the myth that Republicans or those on the Right are evil, selfish and stupid. Such bias is why so many people have so little respect for the leftist news media.

God is not mocked, you cannot excuse sin by mixing it with politics. Ever since politics and economics were separated from moral philosophy and theology in the early 1900s some people have allowed themselves to believe that one can be a good man who pushes a bad agenda. The argument goes that if one means well then he can be allowed to make mistakes that have disastrous consequences to society. Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Dung and Pol Pott all meant well. They were good guys, but just misdirected. After all, one has to break a few eggs if he is to make an omelet. Right?

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