During the last two centuries, the creativity of the American entrepreneur has brought about historically unprecedented advances in our country’s productivity, standard of living, education, recreation, and luxury. Yet, for the last hundred years—from John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan to Michael Milken and Frank Quattrone—American producers have frequently been subjected to politically-motivated persecution, disguising itself as law enforcement and exposé journalism.
The Business Rights Center is founded on the conviction that the fundamental explanation for these injustices is to be found in philosophy—and so must be the remedy. For more than a century, our most prominent intellectuals have been hostile to the commercial and technological society that emerged from the Industrial Revolution. They have conducted a withering political assault on the legal foundations of America’s free market society and thereby transformed U.S. law, subjecting ordinary commercial transactions to multiplying governmental restrictions and draconian legal penalties.
The violation of anyone’s rights undermines everyone’s rights.
In the last decade alone, we have seen anti-capitalist prosecutors destroy tens of billions of dollars in corporate value, threaten businessmen with prison terms longer than those given to murderers, and claim the right to dictate operating procedures in industries that lie at the heart of American capitalism: brokerage houses, banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies, to name but a few.
The Business Rights Center calls attention to these injustices to counter the political prosecution and journalistic defamation of business; and to inspire businessmen to defend their right to economic liberty, and their legally earned profits, rather than apologizing for creating the wealthiest country in history.
Other worthy organizations analyze the legislative and bureaucratic assault on the free market from the standpoint of economics and public policy. The defining focus of the Business Rights Center, however, is the plight of individuals who have been unjustly dogged in the courts and smeared in the media. The Center is also set apart by its focus on the rights of producers rather than the economic consequences of the policies that restrict their freedom. Those rights include both
- The rights of due process that are violated when the government applies laws and regulations selectively, uses strong-arm tactics, or otherwise departs from the rule of law; and
- The more fundamental substantive rights to produce and trade freely that are violated by many of the laws and regulations themselves.
In the nature of the case, defending the rights of the accused will sometimes mean defending businessmen whose actions and practices we do not endorse. In a system of statutes and precedents, the violation of anyone’s rights undermines everyone’s rights. We must not, therefore, refuse to defend a principle in a particular case because we disapprove of the defendant.
Nevertheless, the Center’s primary concern is for the many productive, honest businessmen who have been victims of injustice. It is utterly opposed to “crony capitalists” who seek profit through government subsidies and regulations, and to businessmen who engage in actual fraud.
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