A GOD OF THE COPYBOOK HEADINGS
Rudyard Kipling's great hymn to common sense, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings
", gets pretty regular mentions on NRO. Well, last night I had the privilege of being present when one of those gods appeared in the flesh. This was a private party for Charles Murray on the occasion of his new book's being published
I don't know anyone who has thought so hard, with so much originality and insight, about how we should organize our national affairs so that everybody has a fair shot at a useful and satisfying life -- not just cognitive elites, but **everybody**, including those at the left-hand side of the bell curve. In a sane society, this man would be loaded with honors & would have some high advisory position in government. Instead he is a marginal figure, regarded with ignorant distaste by large swathes of the intelligentsia. That's our loss.
Last night Charles "limped up to explain it once more." If you tax a thing, you'll get less of it. If you subsidize a thing, you'll get more of it. If you do things for people, they will lose the inclination -- and soon the ability -- to do things for themselves. Kids need parents. Adults need colleagues, friends, and relatives. The people who administer government programs don't have much interest in their efficiency or success. If the control levers of society are in the hands of a meritocratic caste, smug in their superiority and increasingly cut off from their fellow citizens, then the less bright and less able will be elbowed off the sidewalk, into jails, welfare slums, and dead rustbelt zones.
Buy the book. Do what you can to get these ideas into circulation, and keep them there, before: "The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!"
Posted on 04/27/2006 3:26 PM by John Derbyshire