Patrick J. Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed (2018) is an important book. He sees an economic and political reality that many refuse to see. Daneen’s arguments are searingly relevant because he is brutally honest about the nature of private wealth and political philosophy. I wrote about his prescient ideas here last year as a noble warrior defending aristocratic virtues (5/2/17), inherited moral values (5/9/17), the rule of law (5/16/17) and Edmund Burke’s notion that we all live in “little platoons” (5/23/17). Deneen writes about the truer, ancient concept of liberty, which has been hijacked by dishonest enemies in pursuit of political ends.
Our wealth demographic, or tribe or families similarly situated (i.e. my family and client base) should be aware of just how fortunate we are because only a minority of humans can control enough material resources to secure a flourishing lifestyle. Everyone else is being left behind and a lot of people are angry about it. Some want to confiscate your family’s wealth or otherwise fundamentally upend the political and economic regime that we currently occupy. Don’t worry – it’s not going to happen – for the many reasons set forth in this Blog every week. The U.S. meritocratic hereditary aristocracy cements families into multi-generational losers (for whom the system seems oppressive and unfair) and winners (lucky beneficiaries of a harsh global economy) and there is nothing politicians, academics or media pundits can do about it.
Deneen’s philosophy is useful not just to feel humble gratitude and a Burkean sense of duty, but more practically, it creates a sense of security inside our castle of existence, which has very sturdy moral, intellectual and practical fortifications. As we travel through the chapters of Deneen’s new book, the War Chest enters a fortress of reason and moral habits that keep our enemies outside at a safe distance. The uncultured, evil enemies kept at bay are Statism, Hedonism [the “grand enemy of truth and peace”] (5/30/17) and “querulous and contentious” (6/6/17) people who want to attack our blessings. We shall nonetheless remain secure, prosperous, rational and industrious in defending our way of life across generations to come.