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I'm a conservative because poverty is what I care about the most.' A leader's impassioned case

'If we want to pull the next two billion people out of poverty, we need to be warriors for free enterprise.'

The president of one of the nation's leading right-leaning think-tanks has a message for conservatives:

If we want to pull the next two billion people out of poverty, we need to be warriors for free enterprise, and shout this from the rooftops. No more of the materialistic nonsense. Talk about saving the poor, and then let's watch ourselves win.

This is a central argument from American Enterprise Institute (AEI) president Arthur Brooks' new book "The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America."

In one particularly compelling portion of our in-depth conversation with the optimistic and impassioned Mr. Brooks in connection with "The Conservative Heart," we had the opportunity to discuss the inherent morality and miracle of capitalism -- a miracle that to date Brooks feels many have failed to appreciate, to the detriment of not only conservatives but the world. When I asked Brooks to expound upon the morality of capitalism, here is what he said:

 

Yea, this is actually the reason I'm a conservative. I'm a conservative because poverty is what I care about the most. This is very central to me with my Christian faith, but also ... in my secular life as just an ethical individual. I care most about people who have been left behind.

And when I started studying in my twenties -- I didn't go to college at the ordinary time, I dropped out of college when I was nineteen -- I wound up finishing my college education when I was thirty, which was a great advantage because I was studying without being brainwashed. I was a grown up.

And when I was studying economics, I was shocked to learn that in my quest to figure out what could solve poverty, that poverty, starvation levels of poverty around the world have decreased by eighty percent since I was a child. And in looking for the reason -- two billion people by the way have been pulled out of starvation level poverty since I was a kid. I didn't know that. I thought things were worse. They're better. Much, much better.

So in trying to figure out how you save the next two billion people, and how you can bring all that progress more to the United States where, the poor -- it's better to be poor in America than in the Third World -- but we've stagnated. And the poor are being left behind. So the progress isn't as good. I started looking at the reasons. Why is it that these people have been pulled out of poverty? And the answer is basically: Globalization, free trade, property rights, the rule of law, and American style free enterprise. And by the way, in places like the Pacific Ocean, the American military, that's kept sea lanes safe for world trade.

For the very first time in human history, it was American conservative ideas of free enterprise and American leadership that pulled billions of people out of poverty. That is the most impressive important humanitarian achievement. It is a great moral good. And it's been done by American ideas and we didn't even know it. That was working while we were sleeping.

If we want to pull the next two billion people out of poverty, we need to be warriors for free enterprise, and shout this from the rooftops. No more of the materialistic nonsense. Talk about saving the poor, and then let's watch ourselves win.

During the interview we also had a chance to discuss several other critical topics including:

  • The four secrets to a happy successful life for everybody
  • The central political irony of our time
  • The story of Dallas Davis
  • Indian's capitalist miracle
  • Social justice
  • How we stop a safety net from metastasizing into a massive welfare state?
  • The conservative versus Establishment battle
  • The biggest threat to conservatism today
  • And much more

 

Note: The link to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

Follow Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) and TheBlazeBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

You can find all of our Blaze Books interviews on Soundcloud and Stitcher, and subscribe to our podcast automatically via iTunes.

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