I think it is a great subject for discussion, but is also one on which much has been written by some highly intelligent and well-read people. I therefore feel inadequate about making any comment, so pardon me if I am way off track here.
I suspect that in the USA it is the virtue of markets and tax minimisation rather than of people which dominate the way we treat each other.
As Albert Einstein said:
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. .. Communities tend to be guided less than individuals by conscience and a sense of responsibility. How much misery does this fact cause mankind! It is the source of wars and every kind of oppression, which fill the earth with pain, sighs and bitterness.
It seems that most of us can separate the ethics of business, trade and politics from the ethics of personal interaction, so that things that we would never do to our neighbors we are content to see done by the government to other citizens, or especially to non-citizens – as if they are non-humans.
Applying ethics equally to all is hard – and expensive.
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