Tim Worstall – correcting a popular yet poisonous economic myth recently regurgitated by Mark Zuckerberg – explains about economic growth that “it simply isn’t true that we want to create jobs, that’s not the point of it all. Quite the opposite in fact, we want to destroy jobs, destroy as many as we can.” Increasing our access to goods and services that satisfy as many human wants as possible is economic-activity’s purpose; laboring to achieve this purpose is among the means. (HT Anthony Onofreo)
In the long-running rivalry between the realist and romantic views of human nature, Sasse is firmly with the former. This aligns him against those who believe that schooling should be “a substitute for parents” as life’s “defining formative institution.” In the progressive view of education with which the philosopher John Dewey imbued the United States’ primary and secondary schools, parents “with their supposedly petty interests in their children as individuals” are deemed retrograde influences, hindering schools’ mission of making malleable young people outfitted with the proper “social consciousness.” Schools should embrace the need of “controlling” students and “the influences by which they are controlled.” Parents must be marginalized lest they interfere with education understood, as Sasse witheringly says, as “not primarily about helping individuals, but rather about molding the collective.”
My colleague Bryan Caplan argues that nationalist enthusiasms are, alas, not new. In this post Bryan quotes the historian Carlton Hayes (1882-1964), for example (from Hayes’s 1926 essay “Nationalism as a Religion“):
“My country, right or wrong, my country!” Thus responds the faithful nationalist to the magisterial call of his religion, and thereby he intends nothing dubious or immoral. He is merely making a subtle distinction between governmental officials who may go wrong and a nation which, from the inherent nature of things, must ever be right. It would sound pedantic for him to say, “my nation, indicatively right or subjunctively wrong (contrary to fact), my nation!” Indeed, to the national state are now popularly ascribed infallibility and impeccability. We moderns are prepared to grant that all our fellow countrymen may individually err in conduct and judgement, but we are loath to admit that our nation as a whole can make mistakes. We are willing to assail the policies and even the characters of some of our politicians, but we are stopped by the faith that is in us from doubting the Providential guidance of our national state. This is the final mark of the religious nature of modern nationalism.