quote (passage) of the day01 Apr 2008
It is a simple matter of arithmetic that change may be costly to the man who has something; it cannot be so to the man who has nothing. There is always, accordingly, a high correlation between conservatism and personal well-being.
As this is written, American liberals have made scarcely a new proposal for reform in twenty years. It is not evident that they have had any important new ideas. Reputations for liberalism or radicalism continue to depend almost exclusively on a desire to finish the unfinished social legislation of the New Deal. It was adversity that nurtured this program; with prosperity social invention came promptly to an end. On domestic matters, liberal organizations have not for years had anything that might be called a program. Rather they have had a file. Little is ever added. Platform-making consists, in effect, in emptying out the drawers. The Midwest and Great Plains, which once provided Congress with its most disturbing radicals, now returns its staunchest conservatives including also its most determined reactionaries. The political destiny of the United States does not rest with those who seek or who are suspected of wishing to repeal laws, withdraw services and undo what has been done. This also is change and unwelcomed. But, given peace and prosperity, it no longer rests with those who advocate major social experiment. In a country where well-being is general, the astute politician will be the one who stalwartly promises to defend the status quo.
– John Kenneth Galbraith, American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power
I am finally reading this. It’s only 4 years overdue from the library. Oops.