We have a suspicion (meaning something we’d like to believe, but can’t prove and probably isn’t so, anyway) that William A. Galston of the Wall Street Journal has been reading this blog, or (at least) the CESJ website. Maybe all those letters to the editor (of which we’ve lost count) are starting to sink in by osmosis.
Why are we saying this? Because in his column in the Journal yesterday, Galston wrote the first part of today’s posting: “A Decade of Decline in the American Dream.” (12/18/13, A15.) We say “the first part,” because he didn’t get around to the other parts. That’s our job.
First, let’s get the ugliness over with and say what’s wrong with the column. 1) It doesn’t define “the American Dream.” 2) It doesn’t give a solution.
Now on the to good stuff, now that we’ve winnowed out the readers who only look for something bad to say about capitalism, the United States, Pope Francis, domestic automobiles, free markets, and the banks.
Right off the bat, Galston didn’t make Pope Francis sound like a ranting socialist. He mentioned that 64% of respondents in a survey “agreed with Pope Francis that government leaders should pay more attention to income inequality.” Of course they should. Even if you think that only an elite “deserves” to be rich, you have to acknowledge that when the desperately poor vastly outnumber the extravagantly wealthy, there is a chance of bodies swinging from the lampposts in the near future. This does not make for a peaceful or just social order.
Of course, Galston also pointed out that 45% of respondents thought that governments should act directly to lessen the gap (the socialist response), while 46% thought the government should just step aside and let the free market handle matters (the capitalist response).
Galston sees this split and general indecisiveness and ineffectiveness as a failure of leadership. He’s right — and that’s why we have our suspicions that he is one of our secret readers. As he concluded,
“We can expect a similar period of volatility until the emergence of leaders who are able not just to articulate a vision of a better future, but also to offer a credible strategy for reaching it in this era of polarized politics.”
We’ve been saying the same thing for years. The so-called “leaders” with which the human race has been afflicted for decades either have no vision or a distorted one, and they certainly have no “credible strategy” for achieving a better future for all.
We can’t do anything about the lack of leadership. We can, however, do quite a bit about the credible strategy. You may have heard something about it on this blog once or twice. It’s called “Capital Homesteading.” It’s an application of the principles of the Just Third Way.
Redistribution by government won’t shrink the income gap. Neither will letting the lex talonis of the unregulated free market operate. The only thing that’s going to work is an aggressive program of expanded capital ownership so that people can once again become productive by means of both labor and capital.