I am generally a fan of Jonah Goldberg’s work and I thought his book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy was superb. I discussed the book with him in a Planet Hawkins podcast, but I just realized I hadn’t done the best quotes from his superb book. So, read and enjoy!
25) The greatest check on the natural human desire to give in to your feelings and do what feels good or even what feels “right” can be captured in a single phrase: “God-fearing.” The notion that God is watching you even when others are not is probably the most powerful civilizing force in all of human history.
24) Complexity is a subsidy. The more complex government makes society, the more it rewards those with the resources to deal with that complexity, and the more it punishes those who do not.
23) Settled communities are communities of specialized laborers. To understand the power of the division of labor, consider the case of the humble sandwich. In 2015, a man inspired by the canonical libertarian essay by Leonard E. Read, “I, Pencil,” set out to make a sandwich from scratch—i.e., with no products he didn’t make himself. He grew his own vegetables, distilled salt from seawater, milked a cow, and used the milk to cultivate cheese. He pickled a cucumber in a jar, grew his own wheat, and ground it into flour for bread. He collected his own honey, and killed a chicken himself for the meat. The whole process took him six months and cost him $1,500. At the end of the project, he issued his verdict on his sandwich: “It’s not bad. That’s about it. It’s not bad.” Even here, he took shortcuts. He didn’t buy the cow or scour the countryside for the seeds, etc.