I picked up Tom Wolfe's two latest novels, I am Charlotte Simmons and A Man in Full a while back, and now I have started Charlotte.
But I almost stopped right there. Because I thought to myself: I don't want to read about this squalor, this tale of youth utterly degraded and demoralized. It's too painful.
Then just yesterday I had been reading Hugh Hewitt's interview with Peter Hitchens on his new book The Rage Against God. There's this nugget of life in Britland.
We are a country in very severe decline of all kinds, and there is, at the moment, no sign whatever of any serious attempt to recover from that decline... [T]he tourist visitor inevitably sees the nicer parts, and isn’t going to go to the sort of place where you discover that the feral youths loping through the streets, where they will kick your head in at the drop of a hat. But we see them, and we see the un-policed cities, and we see vast areas from which the economy has withdrawn, and where people live entirely on welfare... And we see the effects of an education system in which people can spend eleven years in full-time education and come out unable to read, write or count... And unless something is done about it very soon, then as a society, we will cease to function. We are becoming an uncivilized anarchy, and a very, very uneducated and immoral one as well.
He goes on to say that marriage as an institution has just about ceased to exist in Britland.
Then, of course, we come back to the Obama administration and its $4.4 trillion increase in government spending and its utter failure to spark the economy from the banking crisis of 2008.
If you want to come up with the common denominator in all this, it is government and the government's kiss of death.
This is not all that hard. Government is the social agent of force. Politics is about power. The people that succeed in politics are people that are good at power.
When you put government in charge of anything then the culture of force takes over. Compulsion becomes the order of the day. And then the social arts, the kindly virtues, start to wither. Since everything becomes a matter of political power, then everything in society becomes reduced to power.
When everything is reduced to power, you no longer have a society.
We've put government in charge of education. So now everything to do with education is a matter of power. All the mediating institutions that make the world safe get tossed away, and solitary individuals like Charlotte Simmons get chewed up in the government meat grinder. The government kiss of death to young people.
We've put government in charge of welfare. So now everything in welfare is a matter of political influence. Welfare recipients understand how this works. They vote for the chaps that promise more money. If you want money, you must act pathological. Now we find that a century of government money for the poor has destroyed the low-income family. The government kiss of death to the poor.
We've put the government in charge of the economy. So now we have the massive swings and tidal bores of the current economy. Government spends a ton of money on housing subsidies, and creates a housing bubble and the inevitable housing bust. Now government is trying to fix the broken credit system while it plans vast new interventions in the economy. And, of course, in the century of the Federal Reserve, the value of the dollar has gone from $20.75 per ounce of gold to $1,200 per ounce of gold. The government kiss of death to the economy.
I wonder what will happen if we put the government in charge of health care? Oh dear. We already did.