Today’s Carolina Journal interview features a Q&A with New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, who shared his insights about democratic capitalism during a visit this fall to Chapel Hill. He discussed similar themes during an interview with Mitch Kokai for Carolina Journal Radio.


Kokai: Are people now more attuned to the arguments in favor of capitalism? Is there an argument to be made that hasn’t yet been made?

Douthat: I think what we saw in certain ways in the 2010 midterm is what we saw in certain ways with sort of the best side of the Tea Party: a kind of reassertion of that case for capitalism. In the face of sort of the more, you could say, statist push that the Democratic administration and the Democratic Congress embarked on. I think you saw a very healthy, in certain ways, response on the right — a sort of return to first principles — [which] said, “OK, well, what is this system about? Why are we defending it?”

So I think, in certain ways, that moral groundwork, it has been pretty well laid by figures like Arthur Brooks at the American Enterprise Institute — a number of other writers and thinkers who’ve done a good job. I think the challenge is, again, to sort of take that moral case and link it into a vision of broadly shared prosperity, to sort of close the circle between the moral and the material. So I think, compared to 2008, the case for free markets is in a vastly better philosophical position than it was when Lehman Brothers was going belly up and so on, but the sale has not been closed.