In the early 60s Frank Meyer, a conservative, pointed out a number of good things that classical liberalism (different from contemporary liberalism) blessedly developed for the West, among them the belief in “limited state power” and “the free-market economy.”  But he also told us classical liberalism “sapped, by its utilitarianism, the foundations of belief in an organic moral order.”  That is, it settled for utilitarianism and that’s it.  “An organic moral order?” a lot of folks would have said.  “Is there such a thing?”

Of course this is still with us.  Everything from Medicaid to the granting of amnesty to masses of illegal immigrants to same-sex marriage serves a utilitarian purpose.  These things are supposed to have utility, they are supposed to work.  I am obliged to mention, however, that every year approximately 70 billion dollars of Medicaid and Medicare funds are lost to fraud and improper payments.  Which means every year 70 billion dollars are being poured into a rathole, an abyss, and shan’t be recovered.  Can this be described as something that works?

Naturally this is Meyer’s follow-up statement:  “But the only possible basis of respect for the integrity of the individual person and for the overriding value of his freedom is belief in an organic moral order.”

Frank Meyer

Frank Meyer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)