Unintended Consequences

In addition to the “Theodore Dalrymple” piece (below) in the latest Salisbury Review there is also an “Anthony Daniels” review of Kenneth Minogue’s The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life, from Roger Kimball’s Encounter Books. Dalrymple calls it “both gloomy and full of fun”:
The bourgeois bohemian is not in want, nor does he fear the midnight knock on the door, yet still he manages to feel that he needs liberating from something. That something is the sense of limitation that life itself places on us, for temporal and other reasons…The liberation that the bourgeois bohemian seeks is from the frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment that is the inevitable concomitant of man’s existence.
It is the irony of democratic politics – that of universal suffrage – that politicians are compelled in the competition for power (or office) to offer the population more and more positive benefits and protections from the unpleasantnesses of life….Minogue traces the profound psychological and cultural effects of benefits distributed as of right, that is to say indiscriminately, to recipients. Quite apart from an oppressive tax-gathering system that such distribution necessitates, those who receive the benefits develop a new personality type, that of the permanent adolescent.
Again, Salisbury Review pieces require a $16 one-year subscription for online reading, or a $3 purchase of a single online issue.
(h/t Andrew S.)

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