Donald Devine on the enduring tension
April 14, 2021
Adam Smith once said, “Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest in his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man.”
In this episode, Acton brings you a conversation with political scientist and scholar, Dr. Donald Devine and Eric Kohn, director of communications here at the Acton Institute. Devine’s new book, The Enduring Tension: Capitalism and the Moral Order, is a much needed commentary on the sustaining nature of morality and the free market. Devine states that in order for free markets to thrive, there are two missing components: morality and tradition.
In his book, Devine writes, “The moral assumptions of the Western traditional mythos, in which individuals have been created free and equal, are indispensable to legitimizing a pluralist, federalist, traditionalist, capitalist society with free markets and localized powers under a limited central state — a society where liberty and order coexist in creative tension. If its legitimizing source is forgotten or denied, civilization will likely fail.” If our culture continues toward this steep path of socialism, what is left is an oppressive bureaucracy, and a centralized totalitarian government.
Devine writes that what truly sustains humanity derives from Judeo-Christian beliefs, beginning with the initial doctrine of God who made us in His own image, endowing us with a moral worth that exists permanently in every person. This was the faith of the American Founders.