American Consequences - September 2019


perfunctory?” Peter, you’ve summed up everything about us political commentators in just three words. But I enjoyed your erudite letter anyway. And you’re not wrong about greedy and mishandled capitalism. That said, the stagnation of the middle class and the persistence of social inequality are crimes with a lot of perpetrators – sort of like the plot for Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express . Globalization, monetary policy, fiscal policy, the tech revolution, demographics, and entitlement demands from both progressive liberals and conservative populists are all likely suspects. And I would warn against asking our political class (howsoever bipartisan) to solve this mystery. They are too power-hungry and too intent on increasing their already enormous political might. You’re obviously a well-read man so I’ll leave you with two quotes from Friedrich Hayek’s great work of political and economic philosophy, The Road to Serfdom : “That in a competitive society most things can be had at a price – though it is often a cruelly high price we have to pay – is a fact the importance of which can hardly be overrated. The alternative is not, however, complete freedom of choice, but orders and prohibitions which must be obeyed and, in the last resort, the favor of the mighty.” And... “Who will deny that a world in which the wealthy are powerful is still a better world

Re: Our Newest Readers Weigh In Having lived under “real” socialism for half my life and having rejected it both intellectually and in real terms, I find, nonetheless, the section containing thoughts and comments on socialism in today’s issue of American Consequences rather tendentious and perfunctory. I appreciate that in the current heated debate between Republicans and Democrats “socialism” serves as an easy prey to all conservative (and mostly populist) criticism against the Democrats but the argumentation, including in your commendable edition, is far from convincing. It was (greedy and mishandled) capitalism that dealt a heavy blow on the American middle class – the pride of America and of all those who believe in free enterprise – not socialism. One of the perennial challenges of our time is inequality, including social inequality. Rather than recur to empty criticism towards Socialism (this is a different notion in the U.S. in comparison to Europe for example), the U.S. political class could work on a bi-partisan basis to find a remedy to inequality, providing an example to the rest of the world and leading it into a new age of opportunity for all. Some of the ideas of “classic” socialism could come handy in this endeavor. – Peter P. P.J. O’Rourke comment: “Tendentious and


Septemeber 2019

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