Concluding The Heritage Foundation’s fifth annual Protect America Month series, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shared his insights on why a free-market system that promotes economic freedom is critical to ensuring America’s prosperity and security.
In an interview with Dr. Edwin Feulner, former president of The Heritage Foundation, Rumsfeld offered a compelling defense of the free-market system:
It is important to appreciate that self-interest is not the same as selfishness. The desire to pursue one’s goal, to do well, and to gain wealth—for your family, and yes, for yourself—is human nature. The quest for profit has contributed to some of civilization’s most significant innovations that improve, extend, and save lives.… Because they have an interest in long-term wealth creation to benefit themselves, their children, and their grandchildren, citizens in a free-market system have a stake in their country’s success as well. Entrepreneurs and business owners improve the lives of their fellow citizens who become their employees, their investors, and their customers. As a result, in market economies, more people tend to be prosperous.
We agree. Advancing economic freedom is the best strategy to generate economic dynamism and spread prosperity to the greatest number of people. This is the principal conclusion of the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
Robust economic growth, sustained by a commitment to advancing economic freedom, is also fundamental in buttressing a strong national defense. A stagnant and shrinking economy erodes our capacity to protect America and will surely embolden our critics and enemies.
As we honor the men and women who gave their lives defending our country this Memorial Day weekend, it is also time to recommit ourselves to the principles of economic freedom that made our great nation prosperous and strong.