From Kevin Williamson at The Dispatch, Five Words of Wisdom:
You don’t have to love the Wall Street guys, but you should try to understand what it is they do and how that helps make the rest of us richer. If you want to build a factory, what are you going to do? Save your nickels? Have a bake sale? No, you are going to get the money from the money factory. It’s nice to have one of those in our backyard. Sneer at the finance bros all you like; you’d miss them if they weren’t there. You don’t have to thank them—they get paid just fine. It’s a nice little arrangement that doesn’t press everybody’s happy cultural buttons or scratch everybody’s social-justice itch—but it works. And surely the fact that it works should count for something. Maybe give some thought to that before deciding to burn it all down in favor of an economy based on your favorite superstition, whether green energy, “economic patriotism,” or whatever flavor of horsepucky your favorite populist demagogue is selling this week.
The United States should be the most conservative country in the world, and our main domestic political priority could be summarized in just five words: “Do not f*** this up.”
Instead, we have runaway jackwagons and grifters, left and right, talking about the need for “revolution” or, if not that, “building a new economy,” “fundamentally transforming” the country, labor market, the financial sector, the energy industry, this, that, and the other. Imagine that: national prosperity created by generations of entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, and workers, fundamentally transformed into … something … by a bunch of middling lawyers and reality-television grotesques who couldn’t change a flat tire if their lives depended on it.
No, it isn’t a perfect world—nobody says it is, and nobody over the age of 8 thinks you have any reasonable expectation of living in such a world. But when Phil Gramm said the United States is a “nation of whiners,” he was, if anything, being too gentle. We aren’t just a nation of whiners—we are, at least in the worst of our political discourse, a nation of ingrates. And more often than not, ignorant ingrates at that, the spoiled adolescents of human history who literally don’t know how good we have it.
We have problems. Prosperity gives us choices about how we deal with them, resources to deploy, and a cushion to help us over the rough patches. Good intentions are fine, but good intentions and a $27 trillion economy will get you a lot farther than good intentions alone.