Monday, July 13, 2020

Liberalism has not failed

Jonah Goldberg, conservative pundit, has written Liberalism has not failed, a response to Patrick Deneen's book, Why Liberalism Failed. While I generally have a warm spot in my heart for Goldberg, he makes an unnecessary concession:
America's troubles today are inextricably linked with the breakdown of the family, local institutions, communities, organized religion and social trust. Such deterioration is driven, at least in part, by the relentless individualistic logic of Liberalism and the market (Joseph Schumpeter made this point about markets as far back as the 1940s).
I think that is baloney. It's primarily driven by the steady elimination of consequences that teach people that they have made mistakes. This elimination has taken place primarily through government programs like unemployment insurance, Social Security, and the galaxy of welfare programs that make ill-advised behavior bearable. On top of that, the steady erosion of religion by the forces of rationality has eliminated consequences in the afterlife. These things have nothing to do with the "relentless individualistic logic of Liberalism" and everything to do with the state's increasing position as a universal problem solver.

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