While some critics have blamed capitalism as the root of class warfare and the one percent, Ross Douthat believes capitalism can be a good thing.
In a speech on Wednesday, Douthat, the youngest editorial writer for The New York Times, dove into the importance of capitalism in the United States.
The speech was second in a series co-hosted and funded entirely by the Carolina Liberty Foundation and the Carolina Review.
Douthat said he has been traveling to many universities this fall in light of the upcoming election.
About 30 people attended the lecture.
Douthat, a regular conservative columnist for The New York Times, brought light upon what he called the moral case of capitalism, which he said is often overlooked.
His argument focused on the fact that moral capitalism and practical capitalism directly intertwine.
“You can’t separate the moral case of capitalism from the material case of capitalism,” Douthat said.
“It is essential they go together.”
He suggested that steadily rising income and steadily rising wealth help the country move forward with current issues.
Examples of this include welcoming low skill level immigrants and not being afraid of them.
“If there isn’t any growth today, there is no Medicare tomorrow,” he said.
People also take the benefits of capitalism — such as liberty and economic growth — for granted, he said.
Douthat said he hopes students walked away from his speech with a greater appreciation for the benefits of capitalism.
“Capitalist society will only succeed if it delivers on its promises”, Douthat said.
“Americans want to believe in the American idea of earned success.”
Kelsey Rupp, co-editor of the Carolina Review and CEO of the Carolina Liberty Foundation, said that the organization was especially interested in bringing Douthat to UNC because he tackles the different aspects of conservatism.
“He presented the social and economic factors that conservatism consists of,” Rupp said.
“Also, he addressed the importance of social underpinnings of society on the economic policy,” she said.
Alex Thomas, director of communications for the Carolina Liberty Foundation, said he was interested in Douthat’s ideas and arguments.
“Being a conservative editorial writer in a mainly liberal publication is very impressive,” he said.
“Students can learn that you can have different views and still be successful.”
Douthat said he hopes that college students are exposed to the complexities surrounding capitalism as they become active citizens.
“All of this is important,” he said.
“Because these are the questions history is confronting us with right now.”
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