The Lonesome Road
The nasty, petty, and seemingly endless campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has featured ferocious sniping between cultural and economic conservatives. Confrontations erupted between indignant true believers, who insisted on emphasizing moral and social issues, and hard-headed fiscal fixers, who saw the only path to electoral victory in exclusive concentration on the perilous state of the nation’s finances. As the general election struggle begins in earnest and Mitt Romney tries to channel both passion and pragmatism, Arthur Brooks’s new book makes a powerful case that economic issues are, at their core, moral issues. The Road to Freedom argues that if we fail to present economic issues in a moral context, conservatives will lose the fight to pandering promoters of what he calls the “statist quo.”
As president of the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington think tank known for its no-nonsense defenses of free enterprise, Brooks sounds surprisingly evangelistic in his demand for placing present-day politics in a moral perspective. “The dogged reliance on materialistic arguments is a gift to statists,” he writes. “It allows them to paint free enterprise advocates as selfish and motivated only by money. Those who would expand the government have successfully appropriated the language of morality for their own political ends; redistributionist policies, they have claimed to great effect, are fairer, kinder and more virtuous.”
About the Author
Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated radio host, wrote “What the Evangelicals Give the Jews” for us last month.