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Solidarity Revisited

Richard and I are in agreement that monetary policy is the concern of elites and has little or no direct connection to popular attitudes, but I think he has misunderstood my references to social solidarity and citizenship. I mentioned these things as bulwarks against both personal irresponsibility and the related recourse to dependency on government remedies. If inflationary policies serve the interests of debtors, which encourages them to endorse such policies at the expense of the commonwealth and their less-indebted fellow citizens, repudiating these policies will require an understanding of the common good and the mutual obligation that fellow citizens owe to one another. No small part of the housing crisis is the result of defaults that result from people who abandon mortgages without any concern for how this affects their “neighbors,” whom they do not actually see as their neighbors except in the most minimal, physical sense. An ethic of remaining in a place despite hardship, rather than walking away to satisfy immediate desires, would teach us to resist this. This is why discussions of place, limits and restraint are essential to correcting many of the disorders afflicting our country today.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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