I've mentioned a few times that I appreciate the writing of Jim Manzi on the question of climate change. He does a good job of cutting through to the fog to find what seems to me to be the most reasonable position on AGW.
So it doesn't surprise me that Manzi has an interesting piece in the fantastic new journal National Affairs on the tension between policies promoting growth and those promoting social cohesion. You should read it all but one of the propositions is that, while liberals assume the material wealth that they seek to distribute without an adequate regard for the way in which redistributive policies will impede its production, conservatives assume the cohesion - I would prefer the word "social capital" - that the operation of markets and individualism promoted by capitalism can tend to undercut.
The conservative ascendancy was, in large part, as result of Democratic policies that either ignored the creation of wealth or believed that it was no longer possible. If conservatives are to avoid a liberal ascendancy, we need to think about cohesion and the importance that the benefits of growth - while they need not and probably cannot - be equally distributed, ought to be widely shared.
One of the things that brings to mind - and Manzi addresses it rather indirectly - is the extent to which the dichotomy between economic and social issues is a false one. One of the persistent causes of poverty is the deterioration of social capital in poor communities. There is a reason for many of the "judgmental" moral standards that have traditionally characterized American society.
The problem, it seems to me, is that we have lost our ability to discuss these things. The overriding memes of our generation - tolerance, equality and individualism - make it almost impossible to talk about anything but materialistic and reductionist responses to social problems.
Cross posted at Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog.