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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 263 of George Will’s excellent 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility (footnote deleted):

For many Americans, slower growth seems less a menace than a promise – the promise of restfulness, of respite from the accelerated social churning imposed by globalization. “People suppose that the new societies are going to change shape daily,” wrote Tocqueville nearly two centuries ago, “but my fear is that they will wind up being too unalterably fixed with the same institutions, prejudices, and mores, so that mankind will stop progressing and will dig itself in.” The digging in is far advanced in twenty-first century America.

DBx: And those doing the shoveling are not only intellectuals and politicians on the political left – the ironically named “Progressives” – but also, increasingly, intellectuals and politicians on the political right. Conservatives such as Oren Cass, Julius Krein, Henry Olsen, Daniel McCarthy, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley have consumed the Kool-Aid that deludes those who down it that economic change that has negative effects on any ordinary people is undesirable and can be prevented by government in ways that have no negative effects on ordinary people – in ways that will ensure that ordinary people finally get their due from the economy.

Conservative nationalists go on…

Perhaps a price to preserve the economy in these conservatives’ amber will be paid, but if so it will be paid by the ‘elites,’ who deserve it! After all, it is the ‘elites’ whose cosmopolitanism and lack of fellow-feeling have created this hell in which ordinary Americans now writhe in agony and without hope. Opportunistically trumpeting the juvenile nostrums of Milton Friedman and too stupid or stubborn to find in F.A. Hayek anything except “simplistic absolutisms,” “market fundamentalists” promote dangerous notions. And no notion is more dangerous than the alleged virtues of libertarian individualism, for it gives rise to dog-eat-dog free markets that undermine the nation, communities, families, and the quest for dignity.

But don’t despair! Conservative nationalists have arrived to battle courageously against the mighty forces now shoving laissez-faire capitalism and so-called “free trade” down the throats of the helpless masses. These conservatives brilliantly reveal, contrary to the assumptions and conclusions of idiot libertarians, that human beings care about country, community, and family – that human beings are not driven exclusively by materialist motives – that human beings find meaning and value and identity in work. These conservative scholars, pundits, and politicians expose also other fallacies peddled by “market fundamentalists” – fallacies such as that the current pattern of comparative advantage can never or should never be changed, that markets are perfect, that all individuals acting in markets have full knowledge, and that foreign governments don’t meddle harmfully in economic affairs.

And once the hypnotic spell of “market fundamentalism” is broken, governments – manned by well-meaning and wise public servants – can intervene knowledgeably, with tariffs and subsidies, in order to protect meaningful jobs, to temper the pace of economic change, and to ensure that all Americans, not just elites, once again gain from participating in the economy and from global trade.

… or so goes the tale told by conservative nationalists.


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