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Strong opinions, weakly held

Ain’t that America

Matthew Yglesias nails one of the central characteristics of American culture:

The United States isn’t run along Social Darwinist lines, but we’re closer than any other major developed country. To an extent that I find frankly astounding—and certainly unseen in other wealthy nations—people from modest backgrounds are expected to suffer the economic consequences of poor decision-making or bad luck, all in the name of personal responsibility. But when someone really important screws up, either in terms of provoking a financial crisis or overseeing a policy disaster or breaking the law or whatever, well then it turns out that we have better things to do than “look backwards” at who deserves what.

1 Comment

  1. Yglesias is missing the point…

    In America, the laws on the books bear little relation to the laws as they are lived.

    Poverty is the only real crime. Since it would create difficulties to actually come out and say it, we have a body of laws whose main purpose is to obscure this fact. But when you look at the outcomes of law enforcement the actual law is clear.

    It is impossible for a rich person to commit a crime, since a rich person by definition is not poor. Yes in particularly noteworthy or egregious cases, a rich person may have to be sacrificed to maintain the illusion, but these are extremely rare.

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