This is normally Stacy's bailiwick, but, as he's getting his King of the Road on (see Update III), we'll let Ran pick up the slack.
It seems that Ira Stoll crushes Brooks' assertion that "Over the past few years, however, there clearly has been an erosion in the country's financial values." Stoll does this by pointing out that New England colonies ran lotteries rather frequently, despite all the Brooksian retrospective airbrushery.
Reading this pitiful excuse for a column, I think any real conservative is brought to the brink of projectile vomiting by the vapid analysis which follows:
Over the past few months, those debt levels have begun to come down. But that doesn’t mean we’ve re-established standards of personal restraint. We’ve simply shifted from private debt to public debt. By 2019, federal debt will amount to an amazing 83 percent of G.D.P. (before counting the costs of health reform and everything else). By that year, interest payments alone on the federal debt will cost $803 billion."We've simply shifted", Mr. Brooks? No, our Progressive overlords have blown sunshine up the fundament, while the media fiddled, since the Federal Reserve Act. Seemingly useful, yet eventually sucktacular entitlements have been on parade for ~70 years of shiny, rose-tinted glasses decline.
These may seem like dry numbers, mostly of concern to budget wonks. But these numbers are the outward sign of a values shift. If there is to be a correction, it will require a moral and cultural movement.
Among things bringing belated consciousness of the peril have been the likes of Ross Perot and the internet, no thanks to the propaganda media.
Our current cultural politics are organized by the obsolete culture war, which has put secular liberals on one side and religious conservatives on the other. But the slide in economic morality afflicted Red and Blue America equally.Mr. Brooks: please repeat "obsolete culture war" a million times. While this will have no effect on the struggle to avoid assimilation by the Progressive Borg, it will help you achieve a beneficial self-denial-of-service attack for the sake of the rest of us.
And WTF this "economic morality", sir? "Economic" is a word, and "morality" is a word, but an immoral act is exactly that. Please give us GPS coordinates to this alternate location of yours where you meaningfully compartmentalize an abstraction like morality. So it can be avoided. You offer a handy example of the very decadence you claim to decry, sir.
Remember, Stacy needs your support on the road, so ponder the tip jar as required, please.