Saturday, October 29


I read this review this morning (thanks to Power Line). The authors reviewed, Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, have some scathing criticisms of the Left that I think need to be heard. I will mention a few here from the review.

"[The] only way we are able to go about our business in society is by trusting other people…. One way in which people establish the requisite trust is by demonstrating their willingness to play by the rules in small symbolic ways. This is the core function of courtesy and good manners."

Could this be one reason why fewer and fewer people trust the Left? They do not demonstrate the common courtesy and dignity that people deserve? This is not a primary factor, but one element of orienting yourself politically surely has to do with who you feel comfortable with.

"[We] really need to stop worrying so much about fascism. What our society needs is more rules, not fewer."

I am no fan of rules, but a society can not function as an anarchy. Laws are needed to govern those who will not govern themselves. The debate in my lifetime has been- Laws or legislation should not legislate morality. This is senseless, since this is exactly what laws do. They outlaw such things as killing, stealing, and lying in certain situations to name a few examples. The debate should be what morality does our society want to legislate? We have been successful in legislating certain morality, such as ending slavery (although this is a messy example), and unsuccessful in other areas, such as the Prohibition, which is universally recognized as a colossal failure. If American society needs more rules, it is because people are less well-behaved.

The amount of intellectual energy that has been dedicated to the task of searching for an alternative to the market in the past century is staggering. And yet no matter how you run the numbers, the answer always comes out the same. There are essentially two ways of organizing a modern economy: either a system of centralized, bureaucratic production (such as was found in the former Soviet Union), or else a decentralized system, in which producers coordinate their efforts through market exchange….

We already know which of these systems works. I constantly encounter people who deride capitalism. I counter immediately with the point that it is impossible to be happy without prosperity. You can not have prosperity without capitalism.

The reason the transformative Left is politically ineffectual is not that it leads people to devote time to performance art rather than voter registration. The real problem is that it rejects attainable reforms that would deliver tangible benefits, in favor of either inconsequential countercultural gestures or vast, sweeping projects no one can possibly enact, or even explain.

Ouch. If I were a lefty, that would sting. It also explains the recent presidential campaigns by Gore and Kerry. This should be the new mission statement for the Democratic party.

There is more to read there. I think you would enjoy it.

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