How Portions of the Quakers Abandoned Classic Liberal roots in Favor of Socialism
By Rick Kelo
By Rick Kelo
I want to link you to an article I found interesting. It was written by the late Dr. Jack Powelson, who was known as "The Quaker Economist." In addition to being a Quaker himself Dr. Powelson also held a phD in Economics from Harvard.
This article is his analysis of how portions of the Quakers abandoned the group's roots in Classic Liberalism for a socialist ideology around the Great Depression.
Some excerpts include:
During the seventeenth century, the period when Quakerism was born, classic liberalism dominated intellectual thought and conversation. Classic liberalism holds that people should be free to decide which goods and services they will produce and how they will produce them, with sales and prices voluntarily agreed between buyer and seller. Among other things, the classic liberal does not want the state to choose or regulate prices.
Unprogrammed Quakers have deviated 180 degrees from the classic liberal traditions of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.
Chuck Fager, Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina, finds three developments that may account for this drastic change at least in part, all of which surface around the late 1920s and early 1930s. First, he found “records of much debate at the Friends General Conference of the post-1929 years over socialism.” These new socialistic, utopian concepts now pervade the thought of most Friends, demonstrating a sharp departure from Quakerism’s classic liberalism origins. Second, “the Depression also had the parallel effect of reducing many enterprises and fortunes among established Quaker families.” Thus, some of those who would have historically supported free market business activity had gone from enjoying financial fortitude and successful businesses to struggling with insolvency and unemployment. Third, in the early twentieth century “industrial families of wealth” produced children who opted for Fabian socialism.
The Political Ideology of Unprogrammed Quakershttp://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-13-number-1/political-ideology-unprogrammed-quakers
~ Jack P. Powelson