pie for power. The particular path he chose is a side issue.rnIt may take years to undo the ideological damage inflicted byrnthe new right-wing tendency to run down the capitalist system.rnIt is a bias that can be philosophically poisoning, since the subjectrnmatter of economics involves most ever1:hing our very li’esrndepend on. It is not just about accounting and profit maximizadon.rnIt is about whether fathers have profitable opportunitiesrnto provide for their families, whether we are prosperousrnenough to volunteer our time to charitable causes and ourrnmoney to our local parish, and whether we can afford to rearrnand educate more than one or two children. As people involvedrnin political battles, our choice is not whether to deal withrneconomic topics, but whether we will take the time to take economicsrnseriously.rnAs if to prove the point, Bauer’s organization has concentratedrnits energies in the last year on two economic subjects. Hernthrew himself into the battle over Social Security by exposingrnthe idea of “privatization” for the Beltway .scam that it is. If presentrnpayroll taxes are diverted to higher-interest earning accounts,rna huge shortfall appears in the revenue stream thatrnfunds present recipients.rnThat is why every serious economist who favors “privatization”rn(Edward Gramlich, Laurence Kotlikoff, SylvesterrnSchieber, and Martin Feldstein) also favors a new round of taxrnhikes to “pay for” the transition. Bauer rightiy pointed out whatrna disaster this would be for the American family; indeed, it is farrnbetter to leave the system as it is than to bail it out under a phonyrnfree market pretense. Here, Bauer’s position makes morerneconomic sense than the professional economists he is battling.rnFor this, he deserves congratulations.rnBauer has also been outspoken in the debate over trade relationsrnwith China. But here, his economic views have trippedrnhim up. He is in favor of a dramatic curtailing of imports fromrnChina and of new limits on investment there, thus escalatingrnthe situation into a virtual trade war with China over its “traderndeficits” with the United States and over its persecution ofrnChristians. He eventually allied himself with protectionistrnbusiness interests and labor unions to deny China normal tradingrnstatus. Yet, he has not acknowledged that China’s economicrnreforms—toward the capitalism which the regime likes torncall communism—have generated one of the greatest economicrnbooms in human histor’, and dramatically changed the livesrnof the average Chinese family for the better. Taxes average arnquarter of ours, and Christian missionaries operate openly, unlikernin the Soviet Union or Mao’s China. Even the Clintonesquernone-child-per-family rule is cracking under the newrnprosperity. An essential part of that transformation has been therninfluence of international trade, which is all to the good. BothrnAmericans and Chinese have greatK’ benefited from the economicrnrelationship that Bauer wants to bring to an end throughrnnew taxes, which is what tariffs are, after all.rnThrough all these debates. Christian activists may have lostrnsight of why they are involved in politics to begin with. Itrnis not simply to have a “voice” within the Republican Part. Itrnis not to be recognized as a legitimate interest group by the media.rnIt is not merely to “influence” legislation or to have vetornpower over this or that Republican nominee. These are allrnsigns of political power, which may or may not be used for properrnends.rnWhat is the proper end of Christian politics? Boiled down tornits essence, it is this; to build and protect the institutional frameworkrnnecessary for limiting the social effects of the tendency towardrnevil inherent in the nature of man since the Fall. Thernfamily and the church must be protected since their structurernrestrains evil and points toward the good. The state must bernlimited and kept at bay since the law too must obey moralrnnorms; moreover, government is capable of imposing unmitigatedrnevil on an entire society.rnThe world is filled with evil people with an insatiable desirernto destroy. Many of them work in government. Many of themrnwork in business. Of the two groups, which is most likely to succeedrnin imposing its malice on the rest of us? That should bernclear: it is far better that an evil person be in business, which isrnalways subject to the ultimate authority of the consuming public,rnthan that he work for the state, which is subject to few if anyrnconstraints, and imposes its will by force.rnThat should be clear, but it is not. Even aside from the newrnanticapitalists of the Christian right, no institution comes in forrna greater cultural flailing than the free market. From academicrnjournals to the op-ed page, it is accused of every manner ofrncultural crime. It supposedly causes us to neglect the plight ofrnflie poor, to oppress women and minorities, to exalt greed aboverngoodness, and to waste resources. The market is said to warrnagainst our natural sense of community, control our mindsrnflirough advertising, wield socially destructive power by creatingrnfalse wants, and dumb down our tastes in food, art, music,rnand literature.rnSome of these criticisms reflect sheer ideological blindness.rnWhat the left considers oppression of official minorities (including,rnmost recently, the insane) turns out to be the failurernnot to hire and promote them on grounds of race, sex, and disabilit}’.rnThis is an argument against the very idea that meritrnshould have something to do with social and economic status.rnIt is not an argument against the market so much as against NaturalrnLaw. To the extent that we abolish hierarchy and authorityrnin markets, they are replaced by subjugation to government.rnOther complaints against the free market reflect intellectualrnconfusion, which traces every manner of social evil in our centuryrnto precisely the wrong cause: the market instead of government.rnWe have seen in this century an explosive expansion of governmentrnpower, and the rise of tyrannies on a scale unimaginablernin times past, with at least 100 mOlion people murdered byrngovernment, not counting its wars. The U.S. government is thernlargest and most powerful —in terms of sheer resources andrnweapons at its disposal —in the history of the world. Its growthrnhas come at the expense of the private economy, which a centuryrnand a half ago was extremely free of government control.rnSmall businesses, corporations, and charitable organizations inrneven’ sector could operate and serve the public while paying littlernobeisance of any sort to the central government, or even staternand local government.rnDuring this same period of government growth, we havernalso witnessed a collapse in public morals, the fraying ofrncommunit’, the loss of a sense of the sacred, the public exaltationrnof debauchery, the collapse of learning, and the bankruptcyrnof art and culture generally. Can we discern a possible causernand effect for these trends? Is it really McDonald’s and Wal-rnMart, as symbols of free enterprise, that desei-ve our scorn, orrnthe Leviathan state? Yet commercial society comes in for farrnmore criticism from the intelligentsia than does government,rndespite its evident failures and destructions. (And let us not pretendrnthere is some third choice between markets and govern-rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn