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WE MIGHT BE WORKING NOW
Interesting post by John Tierney in Instapundit on how the left and right use language.
… But here’s another way to look at the results. Liberals talk about politics in language that appeals to our primal socialist instincts, developed on the savanna when we belonged to small clans of hunter-gatherers who really did look out for their kin. Conservatives discuss politics in language that reflects modern reality: socialism doesn’t work in groups larger than a clan, because people do not behave selflessly when they belong to a large group of unrelated strangers. Liberals believe in what the economist Daniel Klein calls “The People’s Romance,” but that fallacy has been exposed by Adam Smith, de Toqueville and Darth Vader, among others.
When liberals say that “government is the word we give to the things we choose to do together,” they score high on affiliation, and some of them may even believe government is one big happy collaboration among equals. But conservatives know that philosophy just means giving one small group of people in the capital more power to boss and coerce the rest of us.
A couple of our favorites look at Greece. John Fund is first.
… There will be endless discussion about who bears the most blame for the Greek crisis: a series of profligate Greek governments that often veered into outright corruption or the euro-zone governments that allowed Greece to borrow at artificially low interest rates while they overlooked the obviously flawed statistics touting the health of the Greek economy.
I gave a series of lectures in Greece in May and am certainly not going to defend the magical thinking of many Greeks or their incompetent leftish government when it comes to economics. But let me say something in defense of Greece. Echoing my NRO colleague Andrew Stuttaford, I note that at least the Greeks are letting their people have a direct say in their future — a fitting move given that Greece gave birth to the democratic ideal.
The bureaucrats in Brussels and their counterparts in Europe’s national governments are furious with the Greeks for daring to consult their own people. Daniel Hannan, a British member of the European parliament, sarcastically tweeted, “Calling a referendum is, to Eurocrats, the most offensive thing a politician can do.” Stripped of their veneer, Eucrocrats’ arguments against all referendums amount to saying that referendums are a bad idea because they shift power from small cliques of unelected but wise rulers to an unsophisticated, nationalistic mob that might fall prey to populism, scare stories, and tabloid headlines. …
Then Victor Davis Hanson.
… Behind all the acrimony is an unspoken Greek assumption that has nothing to do with either economics or politics, but reflects a growing trend around the world.
The thinking goes something like this. The rich Northern Europeans have more money per capita than do the Greeks. They could write off the entire Greek debt and not really miss what they lost. In the Greek redistributionist mindset, why should one group of affluent Europeans grow even wealthier off poorer Europeans?
Athens has adopted the equality-of-result mentality that believes factors other than hard work, thrift, honesty, and competency make one nation poor and another rich. Instead, sheer luck, a stacked deck, greed, or a fickle inheritance better explain inequality. Fate or cosmic unfairness can result in good but poor people owing money to bad but wealthy people.
Default, then, is sometimes morally justified. The Greeks fault their most prominent creditor, Germany, for its cruel past Nazi occupation of Greece, for its cold obsessions with the financial bottom line, and for its ethnocentric manipulation of the euro and the EU itself.
Something similar to the Greek mindset arose during the U.S. housing bubble and collapse of 2008.
Millions of Americans unwisely took out subprime mortgages for houses they could not afford and then walked away from their debt when the economy tanked. They understandably blamed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, avaricious Wall Street speculators, rah-rah realtors, and dishonest banks that pushed overpriced homes and mortgages onto the unsuspecting.
The current student-debt fiasco is also similar. …
Margaret Wente in the Toronto Globe and Mail with a thoughtful post on our children – “precious little snowflakes.”
The other day a proud father showed me a photo of his son’s graduation. There was the beaming scholar, diploma in hand, tasselled mortarboard on head, ready to take on the world.
“Congratulations,” I said. But something puzzled me. The kid is only three feet tall. He’s graduating from nursery school.
“Since when do nursery schools have graduation ceremonies?” I asked.
“Oh, they have graduation ceremonies for everything these days,” he said. “It was a big deal. All the parents came. Grandparents too. And of course the nannies.”
This celebration of a child’s every accomplishment, however slight, is something new. By the time a kid reaches 18, she will have accumulated boxes and boxes of diplomas, medals, ribbons, trophies and certificates for just showing up – whether she’s any good at anything or not. …
… The trouble is, snowflakes are not very resilient. They tend to melt when they hit the pavement. How will our snowflake children handle the routine stresses of the grownup world – the obnoxious colleagues, pointless meetings, promotions that don’t come their way? How will they cope when no one thinks they’re special any more?
I’m afraid they could be in for a hard landing.