American Elephants


A Perpetual Motion Machine called Innovation by The Elephant's Child

British columnist Matt Ridley is always worth reading, but yesterday’s column was special.  He wrote:

When you think about it, what has happened to human society in the last 300 years is pretty weird. After trundling along with horses and sailboats, slaves and swords, for millennia, we suddenly got steam engines and search engines, and planes and cars and electricity and computers and social media and DNA sequences. We gave ourselves a perpetual motion machine called innovation. The more we innovated, the more innovation became possible.

It’s by far the biggest story of the last three centuries—the main cause of the decline of extreme poverty to unprecedented levels—yet we know curiously little about why it happened, let alone when and where and how it can be made to continue. It certainly did not start as a result of deliberate policy. Even today, beyond throwing money at scientists in the hope they might start businesses, and subsidies at businesses in the hope they might deliver products, we don’t have much of an idea how to encourage innovation at the political level.

What’s more, free-market economists have been in a special muddle about innovation for a long time. The economics profession spent a couple of centuries assuming that markets tend towards equilibria, through the invisible hand. Hence John Stuart Mill and John Maynard Keynes and pretty well everybody else in between assumed that we would see diminishing returns come to dominate human endeavour. But instead we experienced increasing returns, accelerating invention. As the author David Warsh put it in his book Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations (2006) some years ago, economists obsessed about Adam Smith’s invisible hand but forgot about his pin factory, where specialisation led to innovation.

One of my favorite histories is by John Steele Gordon, who deals with just that: the “Epic History of American Economic Power” in An Empire of Wealth. It’s a great read, and I recommend it enthusiastically. We are seeing all sorts of articles about the horrors of Socialism in the wake of Bernie Sanders, but this one deals with the other part: why Capitalism works and that a state that advances and encourages innovation is a result of a free people and an open society.

How some people can fail to understand those simple facts is apparently due to the failure of our schools and our colleges and universities. Many of our states do not require basic civics and history for graduation, a situation that drastically needs attention. Our colleges and universities are staffed to a significant extent with those who went for graduate degrees as a way to escape the draft for the Vietnamese War. You can hear that echo in banned or protested speakers on campus, and campus demonstrations.



The State of the Union Speech by The Elephant's Child

Donald J. Trump tonight gave the State of the Union Speech to Congress and to the nation. The Union is doing very nicely indeed, a Working Man’s Boom. Employment is at an all-time high, particularly for those who need it most. He said “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again!  America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright.”

“Incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my Administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country. …

The unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have reached the lowest levels in history. African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low.

African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded.

The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years — and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.

The veterans’ unemployment rate dropped to a record low.

The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time low.

Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in United States history.”

There were moving moments: a very young man who wants to be in the Space Force when he grows up, was there with his just turned 100-year-old Great Grandfather, who was a Tuskegee Airman during the Second World War, and gave a snappy salute to the audience.

An Army Veteran who was struggling with drug addiction and had lost his family, his house and his job, thanks to Senator Tim Scott’s Opportunity Zones, is now a top tradesman, drug-free, and reunited with his family, was there.

A young woman with two small children, who has been working to help other military families while her own husband is deployed, was surprised in a moving moment with her husband, back from Afghanistan.

President Trump said: “The American Nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest, and most determined men and women ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease, and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out canals, raised up the skyscrapers — and, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional Republic ever to exist in all of human history. And we are making it greater than ever before!

This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance.

We are Americans. We are the pioneers. We are the pathfinders. We settled the new world, we built the modern world, and we changed history forever by embracing the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the hand of Almighty God.”

If you didn’t watch the speech, Breitbart has published the text in full here. You might want to read the whole thing. It’s very worth your time.

Nancy Pelosi at the end of the speech, made the dramatic gesture (planned?) of tearing up the speech as the President left the podium. Bad idea. It came across as petty, mean-spirited, uncalled for, and was a very bad idea.



The Delusion of Diversity Destroys Our Common Humanity. by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald, on how the Delusion of Diversity Destroys Our Common Humanity. Well, yes. “Diversity” has become one of the big judgemental words. You have to measure up! But why and who is doing the measuring?

I would suggest that you can find more real diversity among groups of all one race, or all one ethnic origin than among a university’s sophomore class, But it’s always valuable to question one’s assumptions! That’s one of Heather MacDonald’s greatest skills.



What We Have Been Reading Today by The Elephant's Child

Here’s What We’ve Been Reading Today:

From William Voegeli, at Law & Liberty: “Do Americans Want to Be Involved in Local Governance?” He analyzes the choices offered to him on the most recent ballot, and the problems involved in keeping up and keeping well informed.

From The Babylon Bee, the satirical website that mostly makes more sense than the real world. “All Democrats Drop Out of Presidential Race Since The World is Ending from Climate Change and There’s No Point

From Breitbart : Watch Live–One Year Later; Leftists March on Scotus to Impeach Kavanaugh It’s quite clear, they never thought he was guilty of abusing women, Since he is a Conservative, they feared he might vote against their abortion rights, and thought impeaching him the only way to get him out of there.

Also from Breitbart, “While Democrats Pursue Impeachment, President Trump Builds Impressive Record of Accomplishments.”

From American Thinker, Nancy in the swamp of despond.”

From the New York Post: “Sorry, Dems: It’s OK to ask for foreign help in a criminal justice investigations

From National Review: “What We Love About America: An Introduction



The Truth About Global Warming by The Elephant's Child

Mark Levin asks Dr.Patrick Michaels to explain Climate Change and why it seems to be a major crisis just now. AOC claims that we have just 12 years left, which gets lots of attention because she is “click-bait” for the media, largely because she is so ignorant about the Constitution, and how the government works. But we have Climate Marches, lots of people who, never having learned anything about the science, believe that there is a crisis and we have to save the planet or we’re all doomed.

This is what I was trying to explain in my previous post. The internet, and the ability to “surf,” picking up little bits and pieces, has given us the illusion that we know more than we do. We no longer understand things in depth, because we don’t stick around long enough. The talking-heads and the ideas change with a click of the mouse, and a move to a new site.

We apparently have a new generation who have learned that socialism – means that everybody will be equal, and we won’t have unpleasant battles and there won’t be any super-rich to hog all the money — or something like that. They clearly have no idea whatsoever of what socialism is all about. Well, stick around and listen to Dr. Michaels explain the climate crisis.



Elizabeth Warren Does Not Understand Economics by The Elephant's Child

A few years back, Mary Kissel who was at the Wall Street Journal at the time, remarked that Elizabeth Warren had only “a child-like understanding of economics”. That stuck with me because it was so accurate. Black unemployment is the lowest it has ever been. The economy is doing great. Food Stamp use is way down. New filings for unemployment benefits are at an all time low.

Democrats believe, as a matter of faith, that Republican tax cuts go only to the rich and to corporate chieftains. Democrats have no understanding of proportionality whatsoever. Since the rich pay way more in taxes, the same percentage of a tax cut will mean more money for somebody who makes far more. Worked for Ronald Reagan too, if you remember

That’s why tax cuts for business owners mean they have more leeway to invest, build, hire, grow their businesses and they do so. Ordinary people have more money to buy something they need or want. They have more freedom. It’s a big shot in the arm for the economy. Were Ms. Warren to be elected, the first thing she would do is end the hated tax-cuts, and set the country on a recession which she would not understand at all, and inevitably believe that it was something Trump did to her because she attacked him for calling her Pocahontas. Bet she doesn’t even know that President Trump is donating his salary to the country.



Politics and Human Nature Are Often at Cross Purposes by The Elephant's Child

Think back to the birth of our nation, the 1770s, revolutionary times. News traveled on horseback, and was disseminated in the larger cities by town criers, or fliers from the printing press – if there was one. For seaside towns, maybe by boat (sailing ship). Motorized anything was far in the future. People probably didn’t find out what happened until many days later. The famed Pony Express didn’t begin until 1860.

People who had never met George Washington had no idea what he looked like until they saw a reproduction of a painting or a bad sketch. What must it have been like to know only the name of the president of the United States?  Or was it not really important in those days?

Did you watch the Democrat Debates at all? How many of the faces at the little podiums were you able to identify? We are clearly entering a time when you can just enter a name and get a picture of the person, without their being well-known or important. China apparently has everybody’s face documented, so they can be tracked.

We have, not all that much noticed, entered into a new age. Many, if not most, people have cell phones in their pockets or purse. And can instantly take pictures. Not everybody is at the stage of recognizing the importance of getting a shot, but it’s coming. Immediate case: AOC after her accusations of “concentration camps for children” didn’t go over too well, apparently flew down to the border to prove it, and was photographed weeping while she clung to a chain link fence, the concentration camp barrier. Except somebody had their cell phone. The concentration camp fence that brought on the tears, surrounded an empty parking lot that her careful picture didn’t include.

There’s a lot of that going on these days, and those who publish pictures are completely aware of the possibilities of propaganda, and of subtly arranging what you will see to promote what they want you to think. Or perhaps you remember the Greek columns on the stage when Obama was running for office, or in the Democrats’ first presidential debates, the “impression” of the front of the White House in the background (incorrect because it’s illegal to use a real one) The Presidential seal (altered because it’s illegal to use a real one) will appear, podiums will attempt to look like those actually used by the president. All intended to give you the subtle idea that the candidates belong.

The “founding fathers” (a term from McKinley’s speechwriter) had no idea of the inventions to come that would alter our perceptions of our government and those who were chosen for high office., but they were thoughtful men and recognized the imperfections of human nature. That once you put a bunch of people in charge and let them collect taxes to do stuff, you are setting up great opportunity for the impure of heart. We read reports often of teachers who have sexually abused students. The Catholic Church’s celibate priests aren’t always. Large sums of money convince some that some of it will never be missed. Whatever you can think of in the way of cheating, abuse, stealing, appropriating, propagandizing, lying, whatever, will take place because we are all members of the human race.

We form governments to make laws, and we don’t assign any one person to the job but lots and lots chosen by all the people. And out of that we get some winners and some vast disappointments, and we probably don’t know the half of it. That’s why we have locks on our doors in spite of all the laws and regulations. And why we have an Electoral College for our votes, and why we try to keep those who chose to come here illegally, and not by the legal way, who never took the oath of citizenship from voting in our elections. And why those who would have their chances of winning improved by having a lot of illegals voting, want to do away with the Electoral College. Or in a different field, why when you buy a plastic carton of strawberries at the store, the pretty ones are at the top and the unripe ones at the bottom with only the red part visible.

Be aware of human nature, and do notice that Elizabeth Warren is promising to take your health insurance away and replace it with an enormous bureaucracy to tell you what care you can have and what medicines and what doctors and what treatment, and when you can’t have any because it costs too much.



This Is A Strange Political Season, Even Stranger Than We Think by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s the mess the Women’s March left behind, for someone else to clean up.

Have you just become accustomed to being called “racists”, or “fascist,” “white-supremacists,”? So it doesn’t bother you much any more? I wrote, back on February 8, 2017:

Headline from Breitbart: “Exclusive—Women Nationwide Cut Up Nordstrom’s Cards, Plan Boycotts After Political Decision to Drop Ivanka Trump Line.”  It would have been cheaper to hire some extra guards.

This is a strange political season. Democrats were absolutely confident that they could expect another four or eight years in charge of the government and the country, with Hillary. Because people seemed to like President Obama they thought it was a home run. They didn’t pay attention to the vast numbers of people who believed the country was going in the wrong direction. Democrats lost not just the White House, but straight down the line to city councils. And they lost to a man with an orange complexion and funny hair who often said rude things.

Two years later, and the Democrats are still crazed, and Republicans still wonder what is the matter with them. We do not think in the same way. We even have some “Democratic Socialists” who yearn for a classless fully egalitarian society – a golden age where everyone is equal and we don’t have billionaires and zillionaires keeping all the money for themselves. They really believe that Medicare for all is a possibility, that the minimum wage should be raised by the government so everyone has a living wage. AO-C really believes in free college for everyone, and she graduated with a degree in international affairs and economics?

Democrats don’t think economically. Their politics begins with hatred of the rich, probably left over from the first days of the union movement. They don’t understand that the buying and selling of goods and services provide an unemotional report on what is happening in the economy. They don’t understand that cutting the taxes of the rich frees up money to invent, create, hire, and expand. And they do not understand that raising the minimum wage leaves no place for the the beginner with no training, who doesn’t know how to work. AO-C, when asked how we would pay for her ideas, says we’ll just pay for it. Print more money.

The Left has a propaganda shop, with wordsmiths who devise the most useful language to use in all political discussions. You have probably seen the videos of many Democrat politicians all saying exactly the same thing in the same words at the same time. Propagandists choose the words most likely to sway the minds of the public.

The illegal immigrants turned DACA “kids” by the Obama administration are always described as “kids” though some are in their late 30s or 40s by now. Always “brought here through no fault of their own” and always “Dreamers” who dream of a college education and to become Americans. A large percentage are school dropouts, many still do not speak English, few have gone to college, and the fraud rate pertaining to age and identification is as high as 40% or more. ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been demonized to such an extent that many believe that they abuse little children. and, of course “rip them from their mothers arms.” That’s how the language is used to affect emotions, or in other words propaganda. ICE is simply a necessary police force, and there to keep us safe.

The Left is engaged in an all-out war on the Right. Their best weapon  yet is “de-platforming.” They threaten in one way or another those who support conservatives with their advertising. Here in Seattle, conservative talk radio, the station that carries Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved and Mark Levin has lost its national advertisers and now carries mostly ads from conservative companies, weight-loss, patent medicines and very local businesses, plus a lot of public service ads. They have been very successful with this tactic, even getting major banks and credit card companies to refuse to do businesses with gun manufacturers.

The success with advertisers has spurred them to go farther with the credit card business. Their success with Facebook, Twitter, Google and now Microsoft is with labeling conservative thought and ideas as “Hate Speech,” White Supremacy” and/or racist if they can find anything to so label, and it is succeeding beyond all expectations. CNN. The New York Times, and the Washington Post are happy to go along.  It’s Partisan Politics in full-on attack mode.

The all-out attack on the Covington Catholic High School boys is a warning about their attack on Catholicism, and religion in general, in preparation for a full-on attack on Trump’s potential nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ginsberg should she choose to retire, for Barrett is Catholic. They are not going to have Ginsberg replaced with a Conservative, and now they are trying to impeach Justice Kavanaugh. They are sure that he must have lied to Congress.

It seems that Republicans mostly just assume that the Left has gone nuts with their hatred of Trump, without understanding the depth and breadth of the attack. It’s getting extremely dangerous out there, and our Republicans in Congress don’t seem to understand what is reallly going on.



The Founding Fathers Explain Conservatism by The Elephant's Child

First published in January of 2008.  Seems like we need reminding now and
then
.The Founding Fathers

The brilliant Mark Levin laid out the bedrock principles of conservatism using the founders’ own words. It is no coincidence that they are the exact same principles our nation was built upon. These are the exact same principles that made America great, they are the exact same principles that liberty depends upon, and they are the exact same principles that liberalism seeks to destroy:

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.”
~ James Madison
“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
~ James Madison
“…the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
~ Thomas Paine
“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
~ Thomas Paine
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
~ John Adams
“To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
~ George Washington
“One single object. . . [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
~ John Adams
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
” I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.”
~ Thomas Jefferson


About the Politics of Personal Destruction by The Elephant's Child

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I just blamed what we have called the Trump Derangement Syndrome on Kathy Griffin’s severed head stunt, which demonstrated that there were no barriers of truth, taste, or decency for Democrats — they were now free to attack in any way they chose, a “can you top this” contest in which you got brownie points for being disgusting. Anything goes in the battle to attack Trump.

You wouldn’t go far astray in suggesting that Minority Leader Charles Schumer is the “Kathy Griffin” of the Senate.

“The Democrats have suddenly lost interest in the sexual assault claim that they claimed was central to Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve on the Supreme Court? We’re now in the “temperament”phase. Judge Kavanaugh’s visible and justifiable anger at having his reputation destroyed, his years of public service attacked and his family publicly attacked — supposedly showed that he did not have the temperament to serve on the Supreme Court.  One is supposed to remain passive while his life is being destroyed publicly before the whole nation? simply for political gain. They are now hot on the trail of what might be a case of Judge Kavanaugh’s throwing ice at someone.

Victor Davis Hanson writes:

Conventional wisdom suggests that, if confirmed, Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh forever will be “smeared” and stained by past frenzied unfounded allegations of sexual assault.

Yet the opposite just as well may be true. As a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh would have withstood every imaginable smear and slander and yet stayed defiant in defending his character and past, proof of both his determination and principles. His near-solitary rebuttal to his Senate accusers may suggest that Kavanaugh could prove to be among the most fearless justices on the Court.

Indeed, the only lasting effect, if any, of the serial smears lodged against him might be that in the future, as in the case of Justice Thomas, Kavanaugh would be essentially immune from progressive media attacks. What he went through likely has inoculated him from the Georgetown-party-circuit syndrome of conservative Supreme Court judges’ eventually becoming more liberal by the insidious socialization within the larger D.C. progressive media, political, and cultural landscape.

Incidentally, contrary to popular opinion, Clarence Thomas hardly remains under a permanent cloud after his ordeal. What stopped further Robert Borking for a while was the resistance and pushback of Clarence Thomas. Far from being ruined by unproven charges, he resisted the mob, got confirmed, and thereby established a precedent that innuendo, ipso facto, would not derail a nominee. For three decades, Thomas has not been regarded as suspect by most Americans but is seen as inspirational for his courage in facing down character assassination.

Christine Blasey Ford’s story continues to fall apart. Nothing in her entire testimony seems to be supported by actual evidence. Those she claimed were with her have denied it. The “second door” thing turned out to be false. She is not a practicing psychoanalyst, she has never completed the requirements of the State of California for certification. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has renewed his requests “for material evidence relevant to allegations of sexual assault … as the Senate exercises its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent for a judicial nomination. I urge you to comply promptly with my requests.”



Jordan Peterson: The Fatal Flaw in Leftist American Politics by The Elephant's Child

What is political extremism? Professor of psychology Jordan Peterson points out that America knows what right-wing radicalism looks like: The doctrine of racial superiority is where conservatives have drawn the line. “What’s interesting is that on the conservative side of the spectrum we’ve figured out how to box-in the radicals and say, ‘No, you’re outside the domain of acceptable opinion,'” says Peterson. But where’s that line for the Left? There is no universal marker of what extreme liberalism looks like, which is devastating to the ideology itself but also to political discourse as a whole

. Fortunately, Peterson is happy to suggest such a marker: “The doctrine of equality of outcome. It seems to me that that’s where people who are thoughtful on the Left should draw the line, and say no. Equality of opportunity? [That’s] not only fair enough, but laudable. But equality of outcome…? It’s like: ‘No, you’ve crossed the line. We’re not going there with you.'” Peterson argues that it’s the ethical responsibility of left-leaning people to identify liberal extremism and distinguish themselves from it the same way conservatives distance themselves from the doctrine of racial superiority. Failing to recognize such extremism may be liberalism’s fatal flaw.



Compassion is the Moral Sea in Which We Swim by The Elephant's Child

In one of her appearances on her international whine tour, Hillary suggested that the reason (among the multitudes) that she lost the election was that she was a Capitalist, while most of the Democrats were Socialists, which I found highly amusing. It’s nice to have a Democrat admitting that most Democrats are Socialists because you now have a witness, Hillary, defining them so. But what kind of a capitalist would hang out with a bunch of socialists? Another bit of evidence that Democrats just don’t understand economics at all.

Democrats operate on feelings. Compassion. William Voegeli, in his marvelous book The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion remarks on how “as politicians have made the Democratic Party increasingly liberal, liberals have turned it into the pity party, committed to doing good socially and thereby doing well politically. People have interests, of course, and a political party that promises that the government will give things to them and do things for them will never lack for a constituency. But people also have pride: they desire approval, including self-approval… The term “compassion”—or “empathy,”or even “kindness”—is routinely used not just to name a moral virtue, but to designate the pinnacle or even the entirety of moral excellence. Precisely because this moral conviction is ambivalent, with so many Americans taking for granted that moral growth requires little else than feeling acting, and being more compassionate, it’s an important  yet difficult subject to analyze. Compassion is the moral sea we swim in, which works against our awareness of it, much less efforts to chart its depth and currents.”

This explains how Democrats are always willing to help someone out with welfare payments, but unwilling to help them get off of welfare or to become independent. As long as they remain dependent, Democrats can continue to feel compassionate, and get their votes as well. Republicans want to get people off of welfare and self-supporting so they can stand on their own two feet, and take part in the economy like everyone else.

Economic growth has always had its detractors. “Among those who view it as fundamentally good, most conservatives are inclined to treat growth as a necessary and virtually sufficient condition for improving human life, while the disposition to regard it a necessary but far from sufficient condition increases with one’s political liberalism. Here Voegeli turns to Economist Dierdre McCloskey who calculates that in “the countries that most enthusiastically embraced capitalism some two hundred years ago, real, per capita economic growth has increased by 1.5 percent annually. Owing to the miracle of compound interest this increase has meant a 19-fold increase in living standards over the past two centuries, which , she contends, is a “change in the human condition” that “ranks with the first domestications of plants and animals and the building of the first towns.” McCloskey argues that this enormous economic result had a cause that was cultural rather than economic. Humans did not suddenly become more acquisitive or creative. Rather, “when people treat the marketeers and inventors as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.” The new respectability of bourgeois life, the belief that the creativity of capitalism’s creative destruction more than offset its destruction, was the decisive attitudinal change that rendered human life in the past two centuries decisively different from what it had been throughout  the preceding millennia.”

“An economically dynamic society is likely to be a good place to be poor not only because there will be many opportunities, but because the habits of thought and action conducive to creating those opportunities are also directly beneficial to the aspiring.”




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