Capitalism has an undisputed record of wealth generation, yet it has always functioned under a cloud of moral suspicion. In a culture that venerates Mother Teresa as a paragon of virtue, businessmen sit in stoic silence while their pursuit of profits is denounced as selfish greed.

Society tells businessmen to sacrifice, to serve others, to “give back” — counting on their acceptance of self-interest as a moral crime, with chronic guilt its penance. Is it any wonder that productive giants from John D. Rockefeller to Bill Gates have behaved as if profit-making leaves a moral stain that only tireless philanthropy can launder but never fully remove?

It is time America heard the moral case for laissez-faire capitalism.

Two centuries ago the Founding Fathers established a nation based on the individual’s rights to life, liberty, property — and the selfish pursuit of his own happiness. But neither the Founders nor their successors could properly defend self-interest and the profit motive in the face of moral denunciation. The result has been a slow destruction of freedom in America, leading us to today’s economic mess. (Recorded January 21, 2013.)