Only God is God, and beside him there is none other. Only God is absolute, omniscient, and omnipotent. Only God is to be accepted without qualification.

Recently I have heard several conservative commentators speak of the Free Market, and laissez-faire Capitalism, as though it were God. Its decrees to be accepted without question.


For example, you can't be a social conservative and believe in the Free Market absolutely, or in laissez-faire Capitalism. Prostitution, in market terms, is simply product meeting demand. Producers of child pornography have found a demand, and create a product to meet that demand. Abortionists likewise. Hit-men are members of the Service Sector with a different skill set than plumbers. The free maket of laissez-faire Capitalism has no conscience, no moral code, no sense of Right and Wrong. Morality must be imposed on the Market from outside the Market System.

Recently, Mark Davis, a radio host I greatly enjoy and respect, argued that Energy efficiency should be left strictly up to the Market. If consumers want to buy fuel-efficient cars, then they should be allowed to. If buyers want horsepower and size, then they should be able to buy those cars. Car companies should be able to build and sell whatever the consumer wants to buy. These decisions should be left up to the market. His thought was--you don't mess with the free market.

Here are two reasons not to accept the decree of the Free Market, as though it were God, on the energy issue.

First, energy consumption in the United States is closely linked to world affairs, particularly our relationship with the Middle East, and all its instability. Dependence on oil puts our economy at the mercy of OPEC, jeopardizing our national independence. Reducing U.S. demand is a sensible goal. We either can wait until gasoline once more reaches $4 per gallon, and stays there--not good for our economy--or, we can take steps like mandating fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. As C.S. Lewis remarked in another context, the French Revolution should have taught us that the behavior aristocrats enjoy may not be the behavior conducive to the survival of aristocracy. In other words, the behavior free citizens enjoy may not be the behavior conducive to the survival of freedom.

Second, the Free Market tends not to reward good stewardship of the environment. Why do you think almost all plastic products sold in the U.S. are made in China? Because is is expensive to manufacture plastics in an environmentally responsible way, we outsource production to a country that is willing to destroy its environment for economic gain. Automobiles are hard on the environment. Increasing efficiency in a responsible way is a reasonable goal. Such a goal must be decreed from outside the market.

Regarding any economic system as absolute seems to me a form of idolatry.