So says Rusty Reno . Compare today with 1980! Those who still fear socialism (or, I would add, even progressivism) just haven’t being paying attention. Sure, there’s ObamaCare. But it’s only a relatively small part of a big picture.

Unlike our friends the Porchers, Rusty realizes that this victory is more good than not. But it still has to be managed politically. In Rusty’s view, Romney was wrong to view our big problems as economic. And our libertarians are just as wrong to think that freedom is just another word for having less and less government.

I’m getting more impressed with those who worry about the “individualism” or displaced irresponsibility of our new ruling class—the cognitive elite. It’s not so much that the rich are quickly getting richer, and the middle class not at all. But our cognitive elite—that, in a way, deserves what it has because brains are what sell these days—is politically irresponsible. Its method of ruling is “nudge” economics—incentivizing the poor, vulnerable, and stupid to behave better. That’s not the same as respecting the freedom and dignity of ordinary people and their tough struggles in a deteriorating environment.

One domestic consequence of the victory of the competitive marketplace of global capitalism is the erosion of the various safety nets that balance our individualism with various venues for what Rusty calls “social solidarity.” Here we can talk about unions, pensions, families, churches, local government, government entitlements, and so forth. We can even talking about having space for “voluntary caregiving.” It’s here that we can even find space for Rod Dreher and his ruralism, as long as we don’t forget that the collapse of the safety nets disproportionally affects rural communities. On balance, Charles Murray would say, our small towns get stupider—as they are increasingly ruled by the cognitive elite in an undisclosed location. That might be true even as intellectuals who can work from anywhere decide to move home. Having an independent contractor writer in town doesn’t make up for the local bank, hardware, restaurants, and so forth losing their intellectual independence.

One reason among many to question the sustainability of capitalism’s victory is, of course, the birth dearth that’s pretty much gone global. It’s surely typically the case that you have to be from some place to have lots of kids. It’s certainly true that our youthful productive meritocracy will be stuck with paying for a world in which more and more people are unproductive.

So global capitalism or cosmopolitanism is, as Pierre Manent explains, at war against BODIES and every institution that’s rooted in our EMBODIMENT. Among those institutions are our FAMILIES, COUNTRIES, and CHURCHES. So global capitalism is also at war against personal eros, just as it’s at war against personal birth and personal death.

There I go again, becoming all Marxist or libertarian by overemphasizing globalism. That’s because I took Rusty’s point and ran (too far) with it. Our political problems, as Pete explains time and again, potentially have political solutions.

Articles by Peter Lawler


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