Monday, March 16, 2015

Douthat on the poor

For Poorer and Richer -

Ross Douthat makes a brief contribution to the debate about whether the "social crisis" amongst the American poor is a problem of economics or culture.

He seems to think both sides have some valid points, although (not to my surprise, given his constant Catholic angst about the sexual revolution) he leads more to blaming culture change.

He does make one point which, I think, has some validity, and it's one that has surfaced from time to time in the threads of the Catallaxy blog, before their permanent decline into name calling tedium and obsession:
But recognizing that culture shapes behavior and that moral frameworks matter doesn’t require thundering denunciations of the moral choices of the poor. Instead, our upper class should be judged first — for being too solipsistic to recognize that its present ideal of “safe” permissiveness works (sort of) only for the privileged, and for failing to take any moral responsibility (in the schools it runs, the mass entertainments it produces, the social agenda it favors) for the effects of permissiveness on the less-savvy, the less protected, the kids who don’t have helicopter parents turning off the television or firewalling the porn.
It's a worry, my giving quasi-support to the uber Catholics of Catallaxy who think the world started all going wrong in about 1960;  but Catholicism and economic libertarianism were always  philosophically incompatible.  Bigger fool the Catholics for staying in that marriage of convenience, just because they think a mutual hatred of a third party should keep them happy together.

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