Towards A Good Samaritan World

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Nick Kristof thinks that Democrats lost the votes of working-people from the heartland for cultural reasons-- the thesis from the book What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank.

[Democrats] should be feeling wretched about the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting - utterly against their own interests - for Republican candidates... Democrats are still effective on bread-and-butter issues like health care, but they come across in much of America as arrogant and out of touch the moment the discussion shifts to values.

It's good that Kristof realizes Democrats need to be more respectful of the heartland's values. But I think he's mistaken to think the politics of redistribution could be popular with working people. Working people prefer the dignity of standing on their own two feet to living on government handouts. And to confiscate from the rich to get them goodies smells to them like theft.


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