When we write a letter to the editor, share a story or a meme on social media, talk about US foreign policy with friends over a drink, or step into our classrooms to teach economics to college students, we are being political. Every time we engage in the conversation about what is wrong with the world we live in and how we might make it better, wealthier, more just, or more peaceful, we are being political.
Elections and voting are neither the most important elements of politics nor the sum total thereof. That’s too narrow a conception and one that even libertarians should reject. If anything, we understand correctly that voting might be the least important and least effective kind of political action.
While Mr. Carter was dealt a bad hand, the opposite is the case for Bill Clinton, who is often portrayed as an economic miracle worker. Without doubt, his eight years in office were good ones, with strong growth and declining unemployment. Yet the main driving force of this prosperity was not government policy but rather accelerating productivity from new information technologies together with the dot-com bubble.
With his trademark good sense, Arnold Kling is put-off by E.J. Dionne’s and other “Progressives'” self-indulgent habit of praising themselves – praise which is not only selective, but often historically inaccurate.
My Mercatus Center colleagues Stefanie Haeffele-Balch and Virgil Storr, writing in the Washington Post, explain the central and essential role of civil society – private, peaceful, voluntary cooperation among ordinary people, some acting commercially and some acting philanthropically or ‘neighborly’ – in our lives. A slice:
In circumstances such as the recent blizzard, community members must rely on one another during and after the storm. If communities are to quickly return to normalcy, our neighbors, who take on the roles of commercial and social entrepreneurs, must be given room to act, too.
This is true after every major storm or natural disaster, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. In New Orleans, commercial entrepreneurs reopened grocery stores, gas stations and furniture stores to provide the goods needed for rebuilding. And in New York, churches and synagogues provided food, clothing and medical services to their neighbors. Although the story of recovery from Winter Storm Jonas is still being written, it shouldn’t surprise us that entrepreneurs play a major role.