Pluralism, Capitalism, and .@RealBenCarson

Ben Carson has not demonstrated that he understands pluralism or that he can craft a political economy suitable for investors and the flow of capital to businesses or households.  For these reasons he should not be president of a political-economic-social jurisdiction whose economy is driven by a free market.

First, regarding pluralism.  Dr. Carson’s recent comments over the weekend, where he stated that he would not advocate the selection of a Muslim for leader of the United States and that the Muslim faith is not consistent with the Constitution, struck me as philosophical output of a person who does not understand that America is a pluralistic society.

As a pluralistic society, where there are a multitude of competing interests, a national leader cannot afford to brush aside one interest in favor of another.  He or she must find a way to balance these interests and find a way to reconcile them.  If not then that is where the democratic component of American society will kick in: that leader will find themselves out of office in the next election.

Dr. Carson appears to believe that, as president, pluralism means choose one interest and promote only that interest.   As the chief executive officer of American government, Dr. Carson won’t have that luxury.  For example, what happens when his Department of Justice is faced with the issue of whether a practitioner of Islam has been discriminated against in the workplace?  Would Dr. Carson’s apparent bias against Islam trump his duty under the law to protect the civil rights of all Americans?

What is also of interest is Dr. Carson’s flawed reading of the U.S. Constitution.  Article II, which describes the eligibility requirements for and the selection of the president, makes no mention of a religious test for the office.  How Dr. Carson draws the conclusion that Islam is out of step with the Constitution is a mystery.  Then again, maybe Dr. Carson is referring to his physical constitution; that the particular practice of Islamic faith is so foreign to him that it makes him throw up.  Even if that were the case, that is no reason for a blatant misread of the U.S. Constitution.

The divisiveness that Dr. Carson risks by advocating for a religious fringe is not good for the flow of capital in the United States.  As head of state, the President should set the tone that America will stick to its egalitarian creed; that this is a political economy that does its best to avoid social disruption that may result from antagonizing religious and other cultural sects.  The United States is not a third world or emerging market jurisdiction attempting to throw off the negative impacts of tribalism.  It is supposed to represent a forward thinking and moving society.  Dr. Carson needs to be reminded of this.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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One Response to Pluralism, Capitalism, and .@RealBenCarson

  1. kenski2013 says:

    ” As head of state, the President should set the tone that America will stick to its egalitarian creed; that this is a political economy that does its best to avoid social disruption that may result from antagonizing religious and other cultural sects. ”

    Certainly, this is the best goal.

    Now, there are various descriptions of what Islamic Sharia Law entails, and from what I can tell, Sharia Law is extremely restrictive of individual freedom, in a way that would appear is not consistent with the freedoms and rights granted by the US Constitution and the supporting body of laws in our country.

    What is ironic about this discussion is that while there are fundamentalist Christians who think our government should be be based on the Bible, following its literal description of how things are supposed to be in every day life (making it Christian theocracy), many Christians are very much against the idea that Sharia Law should be used in that same way! If you look at the recent flap over marriage licenses for gay couples in that one Kentucky county, where the clerk tried to refuse to issue them based on her alleged Christian beliefs, you have to wonder what the difference is, because that behavior appears to restrict freedom and liberty as well, as do attempts to restrict abortion, which was declared a person right by the Supreme Court.

    The pluralism you talk about, Alton, has been around in our country for a long time, and has been based on an uneasy sort of truce between various Christian faiths and also non-believers. In recent times, when the Moral Majority (about 20 years ago) decided that Christian beliefs should drive government policy, and as a result drive who should be elected to make that happen, that pluralism has been greatly threatened, in my opinion. There are those who no longer want to live and let live, and live and help live, but want to judge others and tell them how to behave, force them how to behave, based on their particular brand of beliefs. It appears we have at least some Muslims that would like to use Sharia Law in that way in the USA.

    So if that is what Ben Carson is referring to as being unacceptable, he has a point. But to just say that Muslim should never be President is not justified.

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