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David Brooks: Still Comforting the Comfortable - Elf M. Sternberg
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David Brooks: Still Comforting the Comfortable
In the latest Missive From the Brooks Cave, David Brooks complains that Hillary Clinton's campaign lacks any idealism, that it isn't connecting with voters, and that where a visionary might have two or three great ideas, Hillary "piles on an arid hodgepodge of 8 or 9 programs."

Brooks calls this "pure interest group liberalism-- buying votes with federal money." Brooks wants the American people to be "free," but his freedom is never very clear. Free to do what? With what? Free to explore what the state's offer? The states have never been very good guarantors of human flourishing; civil rights have come in fits and starts from cities, only to be adopted nationally as a good idea or, more often, as a necessity imposed by the idea that all men are created equal. State laws traditionally have done more to enshrine inequality.

When we look out over the vast world of nations and states and what they've tried, we know what works. We've seen it. We have a pattern language of polities and projects that make them work. The only thing preventing their implementation is power plays and the special interests of those in power. If Hillary can keep a few of those alive, and make a few more viable, good luck to her then.

Brooks is here to comfort the comfortable. Again.

(And really, Rod Dreher? Rod Dreher? The guy whose policy ideas amount to "Democracy and Christianity are incompatible; we should 'go Amish' on the United States to keep ourselves away from the world?" I like Rod mostly as a bellweather of how not to think about what God wants from us. Because, you see, when given a choice between loving humanity and loving "the rules", Rod will always go with the rules.)

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tagryn From: tagryn Date: October 8th, 2016 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
When we look out over the vast world of nations and states and what they've tried, we know what works. We've seen it.

There may be consensus within a group or even a political movement, but in general? No. There's vast diversity of opinion as to what "works" and what doesn't. Its why there's such strong disputes between camps in both economics and political science - there isn't a consensus, even among experts...

...probably because what is most efficient for one situation can fail miserably when tried in a different environment or a different population. Another example is a pilot project that works beautifully under controlled conditions, but doesn't deliver when scaled up (e.g. Head Start).

If we were to examine all political systems right now and weigh them against one another, most would likely conclude that eliminating political freedom and maximizing economic freedom is the road to success, seeing how China's economic miracle has happened.
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