Journalist and former LBJ aide Bill Moyers delivered the spring commencement address at my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin. I wasn’t there, but I read the speech and it struck me as something out of The Great Society dustbin. Here’s an excerpt: “You would think a rich, dynamic nation with the most powerful economy in the world would be putting its house in order — making sure we are not only a prosperous society but a just, good, and fair society. It’s not happening. And it’s not happening because money has a stranglehold on democracy….Most of that money comes from a relative handful of wealthy individuals, organizations, and interests. Dominant among them are the financial and corporate elite who want no rules to govern the social and economic behavior of investors and multinational corporations;…..who want to hold to the barest minimum the wages and salaries of people who should otherwise share in the profits of industry…”
I could go on, but you get the picture. He further encouraged the graduates to take a leadership role in “a new politics of justice”. Well, Bill, I live in the business and organizational world you vilify, have been politically active for all of my adult life and, yes, I have known a few people and organizations like the ones you describe, but not many, and even those lack credibility with their peers. But I also know that, as Joseph Epstein noted in his “The Education of an Anti-Capitalist”, the passion of the anti-capitalist is for justice (read equality) over freedom. And one of the things of which I am confident is that justice has the best chance of being achieved in a society where freedom is greatest.