Quote of the Day: Russell Kirk

 

“The twentieth century’s reformers in Britain tended to accept with naïve and disastrous eagerness the facile theory that social order is merely an exercise in social-democratic economics. A sentimental utilitarianism argues that prosperity would abolish sin. It was a shallow argument, ignorant of history; for had it been true, all rich men’s sons, these many centuries past, would have been perfectly virtuous…the remedies for slums are not bigger wages or bricks and mortar, or huge new schools, but instead those habits of decency and responsibility beyond the grasp of welfare state measures.” – Russell Kirk, The Sword of Imagination

The superstition that morality is downstream from economics has held policymakers spellbound for as long as I can remember. Russell Kirk suggests that history itself offers an existence proof that character precedes those individual choices that lead to improved economic outcomes. Personal “habits of decency”, as he calls them, are not susceptible to the machinations of government bureaucrats. Probably because “habits of decency” have never been native inhabitants of government bureaucracies. If the last two years haven’t taught us anything else, they should have taught us that.

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  1. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Yes, it seems that much more damage is done to the quality of individual lives and society from immoral choices and the unwillingness of people to admit that certain behaviors and habits produce better outcomes. And certain behaviors and habits clearly produce worse outcomes. But such an admission would require people to look within themselves for solutions instead of blaming society or “structural” inequalities. How can political actors benefit from advocating better individual behaviors? How would bureaucrats get to direct funding for that project?

    **********

    This the Quote of the Day, one of the two group writing projects on Ricochet. April’s sign up sheet is here and a new one for May is coming soon.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Left is comfortable promoting more spending, more rewards and give-aways. They have no interest in building a society of value, one that holds to sacred beliefs. The priority: build more power. And create a dependent and complacent population. So sad.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Keith Lowery: The superstition that morality is downstream from economics has held policymakers spellbound for as long as I can remember.

    Yep, but it’s the opposite of that.

    • #3
  4. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I love this quote.  I love that you are quoting Russell Kirk.  Boo yah!

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    It’s another of the Left’s Big Lies: poverty causes crime. Besides being a huge insult and condescension to the law abiding poor, it becomes the rationale for wealth transfers (*steal from the rich to give to the poor) that damage the character of the poor. But they sure do buy politicians votes and increase their power!

    *violating a basic tenet of ethics — you cannot do right by doing wrong.

    ** Dennis Prager has been debunking this Big Lie as long as I can remember. Not enough people listen to him or Russell Kirk, I guess.

     

    • #5
  6. Internet's Hank Contributor
    Internet's Hank
    @HankRhody

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery: The superstition that morality is downstream from economics has held policymakers spellbound for as long as I can remember.

    Yep, but it’s the opposite of that.

    It’s fun to turn a leftist shibboleth around and see how much sense it makes the opposite way. “Crime causes poverty.” Of course it does! Starting from “Why bother accumulating any wealth when some guy is just gonna steal it?”

    • #6
  7. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Internet's Hank (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery: The superstition that morality is downstream from economics has held policymakers spellbound for as long as I can remember.

    Yep, but it’s the opposite of that.

    It’s fun to turn a leftist shibboleth around and see how much sense it makes the opposite way. “Crime causes poverty.” Of course it does! Starting from “Why bother accumulating any wealth when some guy is just gonna steal it?”

    Free the people from the big corporations–deregulate!

    Don’t you care about the poor? Let’s have free markets!

    Health insurance is important. Let’s make it legal again!

    • #7
  8. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    It’s another of the Left’s Big Lies: poverty causes crime. Besides being a huge insult and condescension to the law abiding poor, it becomes the rationale for wealth transfers (*steal from the rich to give to the poor) that damage the character of the poor. But they sure do buy politicians votes and increase their power!

    *violating a basic tenet of ethics — you cannot do right by doing wrong.

    ** Dennis Prager has been debunking this Big Lie as long as I can remember. Not enough people listen to him or Russell Kirk, I guess.

     

    I don’t remember where, perhaps in one of Peter’s UK interviews, but Tom Sowell does a great job debunking this as well.  

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Spin (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    It’s another of the Left’s Big Lies: poverty causes crime. Besides being a huge insult and condescension to the law abiding poor, it becomes the rationale for wealth transfers (*steal from the rich to give to the poor) that damage the character of the poor. But they sure do buy politicians votes and increase their power!

    *violating a basic tenet of ethics — you cannot do right by doing wrong.

    ** Dennis Prager has been debunking this Big Lie as long as I can remember. Not enough people listen to him or Russell Kirk, I guess.

     

    I don’t remember where, perhaps in one of Peter’s UK interviews, but Tom Sowell does a great job debunking this as well.

    Yes, I thought of Sowell, too, after I made the comment.

    • #9
  10. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Keith Lowery: Probably because “habits of decency” have never been native inhabitants of government bureaucracies. If the last two years haven’t taught us anything else, they should have taught us that.

    The last two years? How about the last 20? 30? 50?

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Suspira (View Comment):
    How about the last 20? 30? 50?

    Thousands, my dear. Thousands.

    • #11
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