So Why is Sustained Prosperity a Peril? Nearly everyone on earth prefers a life free from poverty and from the need to focus on survival. Call it liberty or call it comfort, everyone prefers this life. Now nearly 2b people enjoy that level of living thanks to the growth of economic freedom. But there are problems.It's heartening to see this come from the Acton Institute, which has sometimes seemed to me all-too-cozy with laissez-faire Austrial Libertarian theory of the kind found in Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. I should wonder if any their disciples of could utter the prayer that St. Louis de Montfort linked to the Rosary's Third Joyful Mystery of the Blessed Nativity: "We ask of Thee through this mystery and Thy Blessed Mother, for a detachment from the things of the world, a love of poverty and a love of the poor."
We must be very careful of prosperity. It has a way of deluding us into thinking that we can afford anything and that we can absorb any shock. For seven decades this has been true. But now we have changed our thinking and our planning and our savings as we ignore the possibility of real economic disaster: Beware.
- People think that nothing can go permanently wrong.
Money cures everything and there is plenty of it and always will be. Period.
- People think that all moral issues are irrelevant.
Ask Miley Cyrus ... the latest casualty who is also a Disney role model: see #9.
- People think that they can afford anything and suddenly want everything.
So the richest people on earth fuel their lives with even more debt financed stuff.
- People are dissatisfied with life and find it boring. They are also ungrateful.
Mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide are ever increasing.
- People think that all who lived before their era were deficient or foolish.
In olden days people had to work hard, be moral, and watch out…what idiots!
- People think that it is not necessary to learn, work, or stick to it to have a comfortable life.
If I get a job I like, fine, otherwise I’ll just move back home with my folks. Big deal.
- Governments believe the economy can be taxed to pay for any government program.
If the rich just paid their fair share we’d all have comfortable incomes; spread it around.
- People forget what a life of discomfort was like and are ‘spoiled’.
OK, I broke the blender, but the jerks at Walmart wouldn’t take it back.
- People adopt a new value system that is narcissistic and worships the self.
How can I go to work today? It’s my birthday. All drama–all the time, for many.
- Governments believe that the welfare state is the only compassionate use of such prosperity.
Even a single dollar of reduction of social security will leave grandma out in the cold.
[Hat tip to Chris Garton-Zavesky]