How the Market Stamps Out Evilrnby Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.rnIn the ear before the 1994 election, Ralph Reed announcedrnthat the Christian Coalition would broaden its focus. Itrnwould go beyond traditional social issues like abortion andrnschool prayer and include economics. He made the case thatrnthe securit)-‘ of the American family, a central concern of anyrnChristian political organization, is affected by far more thanrnmere social issues. High taxes, for example, drain family bankrnaccounts. Regulations destroy family businesses. Huge liabilitiesrnin the Social Security program threaten intergenerahonalrnrelations.rnTrue enough. And yet astute observers who read his essay inrnPolic)’ Review had the feeling that there was an unstated subtextrnto this policy ecumenism. Would he use the new “broad focus”rnto water down the old social message? Would “economics” becomerna code word for moderation? Was this a prelude to fullscalernpolitical sellout? After all, it is far easier to make a coalitionrnwith establishment-oriented Republicans on issues likerntrade and petty business regulations than on tough issues likernabortion and prayer. In time the suspicions of Reed’s detractorsrnproved correct: the Christian Coalition’s polihcal agenda wasrnsoon indistinguishable from Bob Dole’s.rnThe headlong slide of the organizahon from outsider to insiderrnstatus angered many grassroots activists. Why was Reedrntalking about a balanced budget when local schools were beingrngobbled up by a centralizing and statist Goals 2000 program?rnWliy was Reed calling for the flat tax when local communitiesrnlack the political autonomy to keep abortionists at bay? Abolishingrnthe Legal Services Corporation is a worthy goal, but howrnLlewellyn H. Rockwell, ]r., is president of the Ludwig von A4isesrnInstitute in Auburn, Alabama.rndoes it compare with the evil of tax-fimded, blasphemous sex edrnand art exhibits?rnReed’s foray into the political mainstream —he eventuallyrnbecame a full-scale Republican politico —caused a giganticrnbacklash among Christian activists, even if it was not reportedrnin the media. Organizations like the Family Research Council,rnheaded by one-time Reagan aide Gary Bauer, vowed not tornmake the same mistake. What was that mistake? According tornBauer, it was Reed’s attempt to draw the Coalition into economicrnbattles. Instead, .said Bauer, the FRC would stick to thernkey issues, which are social and cultural, not economic.rnOver the last year, we have seen the rise of a new breed ofrnChristian activist that will tolerate no discussion of economic issuesrnfrom an economically informed perspective. Candidatesrnwho call for tax cuts or focus on the federal budget are seen asrnsuspicious types who would distract us from key issues, all ofrnwhich are moral and cultural. (What exactly a President can dornconstitutionally to shore up the nation’s morals is always left unspecified.)rnIt is no longer considered a conservative teachingrnthat capitalism and Christianity can peacefully coexist. This isrnan alarming and self-defeating posture.rnIn truth, the Christian right drew the wrong lessons from thernReedian sellout. The trouble was not his attempt to bring economicrnconcerns into the Christian political agenda. After all,rnin our century, American conservative Christian thinkers —rnfrom J. Gresham Machan to John Courtney Murray—haverndealt with economic topics and arrived at generally free marketrnconclusions. Reed’s trouble was the subtext: economic issuesrnshould be used as a path to the political mainstream throughrnideological compromise. Reed’s problem was the same problemrnthat has afflicted ever}’ activist who has submerged princi-rnDECEMBER 1997/19rnrnrn