“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:3-4
What this says to me is that the government has a legitimate role to play in moderating all forms of human behavior where we are able to harm one another. The truth that my freedom ends where the next guys nose begins is used to justify making abortion illegal and at least limiting many other forms of behavior that we conservatives agree ought to be controlled. Why does that not apply to capitalism as well? The attitude of many conservatives toward any limitations on capitalism reminds me of my liberal relatives’ attitude about abortion. They cannot stomach the idea of making something as extreme and evil as partial birth abortion illegal because proposing any limitation at all on a woman’s “right to choose” is seen as a threat. I know this is not a perfect parallel because capitalism is not intrinsically evil as abortion is but still I see a similar attitude.
Right now any candidate who calls into question Romney’s Bain Capital activities is being accused of “attacking from the left” as if any questioning of capitalistic activities is automatically a threat to the whole system and therefore not to be allowed. I would propose that a capitalist whose activities harm others solely for his own benefit can be acting in an immoral fashion which might legitimately be limited by the government. Thinking that does not mean I don’t believe in capitalism. It just means that I know humans are sinners and thus any activity they engage in can be corrupted. Limits must be set and imperfect as it is, human government is one of God’s instrument for accomplishing that in our time.
The attitude seems to be that if Gingrich and Perry attack Romney about Bain Capital, that it means they do not believe in capitalism, and that just is not true. They are said to be attacking with the weapons of the left. Well the reason those weapons are often effective is because they appeal to our inborn sense of fair play. The truth is all is not fair in love and war or anything else including capitalism, and everybody knows it. It is the leftist solutions to the unfairness that is wrong, not recognizing that unfair behavior is happening.
It is legitimate to raise questions about something that a candidate has used as a major feature of his claims of fitness for the job. This is a battle the candidates are fighting and it is logical to attack where they see a weakness. Romney has made much of his claim that he is not a career politician, and Bain Capital is what he was doing when he was a non career politician. So lets do take a very close look at that. I don’t know if the attacks are justified or not but I do believe the attacks are acceptable. Let them have at it!
It makes sense for both Perry and Gingrich to attack Romney this way. They both were attacked relentlessly by Romney in ways that could be seen as unfair. They cannot be faulted for fighting fire with fire. Gingrich has stated that he wants to slow Romney down. Perry is portraying himself as unique in being an outsider. Thus Romney is a Wall Street insider, the others are D.C. insiders. So he must attack Romney for Bain Capital, if he attacks him at all. The big question for me is whether Perry and Gingrich will damage themselves too much by doing this. I sure hope not in Perry’s case at least. (I am remembering Bachmann and guardisil…) Also they may be laying themselves open to return attacks if they have been guilty of similar behavior themselves. We shall see.
I believe that the Republican Primary system is working rather well at this point. If these attacks slow down Romney’s progress and stop him from becoming the inevitable candidate too soon that is a good thing. I was annoyed that McCain became inevitable in 2008 before I ever got a chance for a say in the matter. It is good that Romney is being attacked now about Bain Capital instead of later. I am waiting with great interest to see how ably he defends himself. This will hopefully only make him stronger if he ends up being the nominee. Far better to make sure he can get this straight now than when it is too late for us to make a different choice.
A great article about this issue which expresses better some of what I am trying to say: