Author’s note: The following is a section from chapter 6, “A Civilized Society: The Necessary Conditions,” in my book Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It. This section comes after I’ve shown how the principle of individual rights is derived from observation and logic, how pure (laissez-faire) capitalism protects rights by banning physical force from social relationships, and how a capitalist legal system adjudicates disputes by reference to objective, rights-protecting laws. —CB
Since capitalism is the only social system in which the courts uphold the principles of objective law—since it is the only social system in which the government protects individual rights (including property rights)—since it is the only social system in which people can act fully according to their own judgment and thus live fully as human beings—capitalism is the only moral social system.
But, one might ask, what about the poor, the disabled, and the helpless? How do they fare under laissez-faire?
To answer this question, we must bear in mind that very few people are genuinely helpless or unable to support themselves; the great majority of people are capable of acting as their life requires. And if a person chooses to live and is capable of supporting himself, he has a moral responsibility to do so; if he refuses to support himself and, instead, steals, begs, or seeks handouts, he is acting parasitically and immorally.
With this in mind, let us consider the position of the poor, the disabled, and the helpless in a truly capitalist system. But we must take them one at a time, for they are not necessarily one and the same. . . .
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1. See the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (www.aafrc.org).