Just as conservatives must make the moral case for free markets, we must also concede that we live in a fallen world full of greed and sin. It is not inconsistent to believe that free markets provide prosperity for the most people – and that we face a daily struggle to resist greed and avarice. The prudent conservative has always acknowledged this inherent tension.
“Conservatives — whether churchgoers or not — are not utopians,” writes AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis. “They understand market economies will never turn the world temporal into Paradise (while at the same time realizing that command-and-control economies have frequently produced a kind of hell on earth). Conservatives value the ‘safety net’ to help those whom the pope calls the ‘excluded.’ But conservatives also want to reform the safety net so more resources are devoted to raising the living standards of the truly needy rather than subsidizing the rich, moving the jobless toward work and self sufficiency, and increasing social mobility and equality of opportunity.”