David Brooks: The Next Culture War

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our current cultural politics are organized by the obsolete culture war, which has put secular liberals on one side and religious conservatives on the other. But the slide in economic morality afflicted Red and Blue America equally.

If there is to be a movement to restore economic values, it will have to cut across the current taxonomies. Its goal will be to make the U.S. again a producer economy, not a consumer economy. It will champion a return to financial self-restraint, large and small.

It will have to take on what you might call the lobbyist ethos — the righteous conviction held by everybody from AARP to the agribusinesses that their groups are entitled to every possible appropriation, regardless of the larger public cost. It will have to take on the self-indulgent popular demand for low taxes and high spending.

A crusade for economic self-restraint would have to rearrange the current alliances and embrace policies like energy taxes and spending cuts that are now deemed politically impossible. But this sort of moral revival is what the country actually needs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted September 30, 2009 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br. Michael wrote:

Lots of luck.  Politicians get elected through largess.

September 30, 8:04 am | [comment link]
2. Clueless wrote:

Difficult, but not impossible.  What it needs is a grass roots uprising of altruism.  The Boomers once believed in altruism (back when it didn’t cost them anything).

Right now, I am considering the following (admittedly with the luxury of some years to change my mind).  Once my last child is 25 and through college, I plan to make myself DNR.  (I am currently healthy, 52, and plan to work until I’m either 70-75 or they kick me out, and will probably be able to work until I’m 70 either in the US or (if my job gets too dire, elsewhere).  If I become disabled prior to my target date (age 64) then I will make myself DNR immediately.  I plan to have a tatoo on my chest in addition to the usual necklace, to minimize the chance that the ER will make an error and resuciate me.  That way, the next pneumonia, etc will hopefully take me off before I am likely to need much in the way of either social security, medicare or other resources.  I feel no great need to wait for my pacemaker, wheelchair, or nursing home if it will not permit me to continue to contribute greater than my costs by working.  This is not suicide, nor homicide, nor does it force others to make my choices.  It would be voluntary, as a gift to future generations.  If the culture could be changed, so that altruism became popular, (DNR rock bands could call themselves “the deadbeats”!) then America would not need to worry about the debt, social security, medicare or the future.  It would be taken care of, in style.

September 30, 2:06 pm | [comment link]
3. centexn wrote:

The way has become more arduous.  Sharp rocks in some places, loose gravel in others, make an uneven road perilously uncertain. 
A distant figure is slowly growing larger.  I carry no staff; no purse. Only a prayer on my lips and in my heart, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

October 2, 7:14 am | [comment link]
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