A. Bernstein, A mixed morality has led to a mixed economy in the US

In the 19th century, a capitalist economic system developed logically from these basic principles. If a man has a right to his own mind, his own body, his own life, then he has a right to the goods produced by his mental and bodily effort: he has a right to property.

Similarly, if he has a right to pursue happiness, then, as an integral part of it, he has a right to work honestly and strenuously in pursuit of economic prosperity. He has a right to pursue profit and to retain what he earns. On the basis of individual rights and capitalism, America of that period was the politically freest and economically wealthiest nation that had yet existed.

To some degree, those same moral and philosophical principles still animate America of the 21 st century, but, at the same time, they have been significantly diluted by contrasting ideas that in the past 100 years have become prevalent in the country. Increasingly, the moral ideal that a man must sacrifice for society has become dominant in America. Morally, it is held that individuals must provide selfless service to the poor, the elderly, the sick-to society as a whole.

Epistemologically, commitment to rationality-to a tough-minded fact orientation- has been largely supplanted by a “compassionate” emotionalism, including an alleged sympathy for the needy.

There certainly remains the idea that an individual should seek his own profit, success, and happiness-but it is modulated now, combined into a mixed moral view that freedom and individual rights entail social obligations.

Politically, this mixed morality has led to a mixed economy. The country is no longer an individualistic bastion of near-Iaissez-faire capitalism; it is now a mixed economy welfare state, combining individual rights with social duties, freedom with government controls, private property with social welfare programs, capitalism with socialism, etc…

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