The New York Times takes note of Sean Scallon’s recent TAC essay oon the conservative side of Jimmy Carter. He was no Wilhelm Roepke, of course, but Carter’s “malaise” speech included some quite Roepkian socio-economic ideas. Scallon’s story, as well as Dermot Quinn’s new essay on Roepke, is a timely reminder of the “demand” side to our economic crisis. The American public has been led by politicians over the last several decades to expect everything for nothing–easy credit, oceans of oil, limitless growth, low taxes, and an extensive welfare state. And of course, the world’s biggest military. (See Jeff Huber’s “Sticker Shock and Awe.”)
Having written the largest check of my life to the IRS a few days ago, I’m as ready for a tax revolt as anyone. (There I go being a right-wing extremist again.) But there are social and spiritual dimensions to our woes as well as purely economic and political ones, as the Scallon and Quinn pieces show.
Speaking of right-wing extremism, if you haven’t yet read Philip Jenkins’s “Terror Begins at Home,” perhaps the most prophetic essay of the year, be sure to do so. Jenkins recounts the 60-year history of hysteria about domestic terrorism under Democratic administrations.