Perusing the online newspapers while waiting for two teenaged boys to climb out of bed this morning, I came across Charles Murray’s column in today’s Wall Street Journal,“Why Capitalism Has an Image Problem.” The column is jammed with insights—just jammed with them. One excerpt—followed by a question for the good people of Ricochet:
[L]arge numbers of today's successful capitalists are people of the political left who may think their own work is legitimate but feel no allegiance to capitalism as a system or kinship with capitalists on the other side of the political fence. Furthermore, these capitalists of the left are concentrated where it counts most. The most visible entrepreneurs of the high-tech industry are predominantly liberal. So are most of the people who run the entertainment and news industries. Even leaders of the financial industry increasingly share the politics of George Soros. Whether measured by fundraising data or by the members of Congress elected from the ZIP Codes where they live, the elite centers with the most clout in the culture are filled with people who are embarrassed to identify themselves as capitalists, and it shows in the cultural effect of their work.
The rich capitalists who occupy, so to speak, our cultural chokepoints tend to be overwhelmingly liberal. This is true and baleful, just as Charles says. But why should it be so? The moguls who ran Hollywood during the Thirties and Forties were conservative Republicans, and all you need to do to grasp the political temper of Wall Street in the old days is to read The Wise Men, the book about the fundamentally pro-American, pro-free market financiers who played such a central role in American foreign policy during the Fifties.
Why is everything so different now? What happened?