April 29, 2014
What I Learned in Peloponnese...
Whoa. David Brooks is right. I was readying the stopped-clock gags, but the NYTimes's political-trouser-pressing critic has a superb column which introduces a topic I wanted to discuss. Spoiler alert -- I want to share the end but recommend the entire piece:
The liberal pluralistic system is not a spontaneous natural thing. Preserving that hard-earned ecosystem requires an ever-advancing fabric of alliances, clear lines about what behavior is unacceptably system-disrupting, and the credible threat of political, financial and hard power enforcement.
Deepak Lal -- call your office. But the point I hoped to make was the comparison of anarcho-capitalism and socialism. A great friend of this blog riffs that the proponents of both build their premises on prelapsarian man. "If men were Angels..." James Madison intoned.
My contribution, besides sharing the awesome word, prelapsarian, with you, is this. The Rule of jk:
Neither liberty nor prosperity is a natural state.
We, of the liberty ilk, chide the left for their half. They see the land of milk of honey, with happy people hunting plentiful buffalo and enjoying organic carrots -- until the mean old corporations and greedy Wall Street bankers ruined everything. Deirdre McCloskey is turned on her head to my lefty friends.
But I appeal to my righty friends to eschew not only anarcho-capitalism, but also isolationism. Surely Rep. Ron Paul isolationism -- we'll negotiate with Paul the Younger. These Righty Facebook Friends (RFFs) are increasingly contemptuous of "consent of the governed." Even accepting the Constitution, one can make a perfect case for Ron Paulism -- more easily than for the Deepak Lal side.
I learned on these very pages that Thomas Hobbes translated Thucydides to English. Now we know where he "got his mellow harshed." Just as the natural economic state is poverty and privation, digging for roots with a stick to try and ingest enough calories -- the natural political state is for some person or group to come take those roots and your stick away from you.
Brooks is dead right -- maintaining a Lal-ian Liberal International Economic Order is difficult and we lack the stomach for it. Make your choices, but do not pretend that everything will be fine. That the terrorists just want us to leave them alone and that Putin just wants us to stop giving them stupid props. China just wants a couple of rocks in the ocean.
UPDATE: Heh. Insty links to the same column, importunely pointing out "This a direct consequence of who we elected in 2008. You, David, were a part of that."Elevator Talk Posted by John Kranz at April 29, 2014 11:17 AM