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GMU Econ alum Paul Mueller explains to NatCons and others on the ‘new right’ why their ethical objections to free-market capitalism fail. Three slices:

Free enterprise capitalism within a constitutional order is not purely instrumental, a mere tool without any moral worth. Rather, it constitutes the body of society. And so, we shouldn’t pejoratively label free enterprise capitalism “zombie Reaganism” or “market fundamentalism.” Instead, we should recognize the goodness of our social body, just as we recognize the goodness of our natural bodies.

Free enterprise capitalism is the most natural structure and ordering of human society. It respects moral agency, individual autonomy and responsibility, the rule of law, and voluntary and civil association. Within free enterprise capitalism we find abundant opportunities to pursue vocation and to fulfill the cultural mandate in creation. More broadly, we tend to find greater religious liberty and toleration too.


Advocating a free enterprise capitalist social order does not mean we must reduce everything to economic exchange – far from it! This order creates the means and space for us to engage in non-economic, non-market behavior – not only with greater leisure time, but with greater scope for family, education, health, worship, and caregiving. Using philosophical language, free enterprise capitalism expands our capacities as individuals and as communities. Our social and cultural problems arise not from free markets increasing our capacity, but from our abuse of that increased capacity.


Free enterprise capitalism isn’t haunted by the higher things. It embodies them.

Who’d a-thunk it?: “California Restaurants Cut Jobs as Fast-Food Wages Set to Rise.” [DBx: Of course, determined number-crunchers will publish yet more papers deploying pyrotechnical econometrics, such as the differences-in-differences-in-differences-in-differences-in-differences-in-ad-finitum-differences method, to show that headlines such as this one are incorrect – to show that the law of demand does not apply to low-skilled labor employers of low-skilled labor enjoy monopsony power, rendering minimum-wage legislation a costless boon to low-skilled workers.]

Erec Smith testifies that “DEI is built upon a foundation whose very mission is to perpetuate racism.”

Elizabeth Nolan Brown decries “the absurd Apple antitrust lawsuit.” A slice:

There hasn’t been a ton of outrage over the suit’s radical premises yet, perhaps because it’s a tech company being attacked. The relative novelty of the topics this lawsuit deals with—apps, interfaces, etc.— allows authorities to portray Apple’s actions as uniquely nefarious.

Applying the government’s arguments to a physical retailer helps highlight how crazy they are. Let’s use a popular chain store like Target as an example.

When I walk into Target, I know I’m going to be presented with a finite number of products that Target bigwigs somewhere have approved for sale. Not just anyone can walk into Target and start selling their own stuff. Nor are rival retailers like Walmart or Kohl’s able to set up shop within Target stores.

This may harm rival brands, or random people who aren’t able to peddle their products in Target. And it means shoppers at this particular store see somewhat less choice and perhaps higher prices than they would otherwise—I can’t go into Target and buy a Macy’s dress or a thrift-store couch, for example. But these policies also add value for consumers, who can expect consistency across Target stores and have confidence that the products therein have been vetted in some way. And they benefit Target, too, in direct ways (like making it more likely that shoppers will buy Target-brand products) and indirect ways (like generating higher brand confidence and loyalty).

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Judge Glock reports that

the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 is reshaping how America builds—but not in the way its supporters hoped. Few big projects have been completed, and one little-noted aspect of the law, expanding mandates to use American-made products, has confused federal, state and local governments, and created new levels of bureaucratic waste.


The law formally created a Made in America Office to review agency compliance and approve waivers. Considering the extent of the mandates, this has been difficult. The law put that office in charge of policing individual government purchases for domestic content. This has wrapped federal officers in minutiae. The Transportation Security Administration had to get a waiver to order “tactical pants” for air marshals. The Department of Veterans Affairs and other departments had to get a waiver to buy pills for the treatment of HIV. The Environmental Protection Agency got a waiver so that the North Unit Irrigation District of Madras, Ore., could use reinforced polyethylene liner for a canal when there were no U.S. producers for this niche product.

GMU Econ alum Julia Cartwright praises Jennifer Burns’s biography of Milton Friedman.

Wise words from Arnold Kling about inflation and government-caused strife.

Bob Graboyes makes clear “what Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses can teach us about healthcare today.”

It’s good to know that vandals will be punished harshly for their self-indulgent actions that harm others.

Wall Street Journal columnist Matthew Hennessey rightly disputes the progressive myth “of America as a land of random possibilities.” A slice:

No, Mr. Biden needs a subtler vision of decline that can sell in Democratic suburbs where parents talk bolshie but live bougie. So he’s decided to settle for America as a land of mere possibilities. It’s a place where good things happen but nobody deserves them and bad things happen but it’s nobody’s fault.