DAVID BROOKS AND THE DEFERRED STRUCTURAL RECKONING
Jay B Gaskill
David Brooks has nailed it today with insight and clarity. The 2012 elections present a major decision branch that concerns the very structure of our economic life.
What Republicans Think by David Brooks, published: June 14, 2012 in the New York Times, is a valuable piece that should be carefully read by everyone who cares about this country’s future.
Here’s a sample:
“…many Republicans have now come to the conclusion that the welfare-state model is in its death throes. Yuval Levin expressed the sentiment perfectly in a definitive essay for The Weekly Standard called “Our Age of Anxiety”:
“We have a sense that the economic order we knew in the second half of the 20th century may not be coming back at all — that we have entered a new era for which we have not been well prepared. … We are, rather, on the cusp of the fiscal and institutional collapse of our welfare state, which threatens not only the future of government finances but also the future of American capitalism.”
“To Republican eyes, the first phase of that collapse is playing out right now in Greece, Spain and Italy — cosseted economies, unmanageable debt, rising unemployment, falling living standards.”
This theme is the basis of two of my articles, yesterday’s Preparing for Post-Obama America, published on The Policy Think Site at http://www.jaygaskill.com/PostObamaAmerica.htm, and last summer’s The American Creative Surge and the Case For Renaissance Conservatism published at http://jaygaskill.com/ACS2011.htm.
The entitlement state has become a vampire organism that threatens the safety net itself.
Conservatives and liberals should, but do not currently share a commitment to the recognition of reality over ideology. When facing a massive, systemic failure, the solutions are necessarily structural in nature, including the conceptual structure of the assumptions on which the failure was erected.
Here is the underlying reality in a nutshell:
One can only transfer resources from the productive to the non-productive elements in society to a limit, at which point the choice becomes very stark: Reverse the trend or implement it via strong authoritarian measures.
I grew up with and still cherish a liberalism that shared several core principles with conservatives, among them that –
(a) Equality before the law is the proper status of all citizens of the republic, a cherished right, but equality in one’s circumstances, abilities or achievements is not a right at all, just an outcome.
(b) Marxism is a pernicious doctrine, the source of much evil.
I am personally persuaded that we are witnessing the large scale collapse of “Marxism Lite” which has led to the current crisis in Europe and the looming crisis in the USA.
Except for the David Brooks pull quote, this essay is Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill. As always, forwards, links and quotations with attribution are welcome and encouraged. For everything else, please contact the author via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.