Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, December 05, 2011

Spirit of enterprise enlivens

NY Times columnist David Brooks writes:
Why are nations like Germany and the United States rich? It's not primarily because they possess natural resources — many nations have those. It's primarily because of habits, values and social capital.

It's because many people in these countries ... believe in a simple moral formula: Effort should lead to reward as often as possible.

People who work hard and play by the rules should have a fair shot at prosperity. Money should go to people on the basis of merit and enterprise. Self-control should be rewarded, while laziness and self-indulgence should not. Community institutions should nurture responsibility and fairness.

This ethos is not an immutable genetic property that can blithely be taken for granted. It's a precious social construct that can be undermined and degraded.

Right now, this ethos is being undermined from all directions. ... Yet the assault on these values continues, especially in Europe.
He goes on to talk about Europe's problems, as Europe is ahead of us in its economic and cultural problems.

Brooks is right that America is rich because of its values, ethos, and social constructs. If you accept that, then you should also believe that our govt should be taking strong measures to prevent the good social constructs from being undermined and degraded. And yet govt policies on welfare, immigration, debt, families, and trade are undermining those social constructs.

Newt Gingrich is currently getting heat for saying this:
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker said at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.” ...

Children in poor neighborhoods, he said, should be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools to earn money and develop a connection to the school.
At least he recognizes Brooks's point.

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