George Will, writing in the Washington Post, observes that Josh Hawley sounds like he has far too much faith in government:
The sails of [Republican] Sen. Josh Hawley’s political skiff are filled with winds gusting from the right. They come from conservatives who think that an array of — perhaps most of — America’s social injuries, from addiction to loneliness — have been inflicted by America’s economy. Individualism, tendentiously defined, is the Missouri Republican’s named target. Inevitably, however, the culprit becomes capitalism, which is what individual freedom is in a market society’s spontaneous order.
In a November speech to like-minded social conservatives of the American Principles Project, Hawley said: “We live in a troubled age.” Not pausing to identify a prior, untroubled age, he elaborated: “Across age groups and regions, across races and income, the decline in community is undeniable. But it is not accidental.” Well.
Time was, Marxists’ characteristic rhetorical trope was “it is no accident” that this or that happened. As economic determinists, they believed that everything is explained by iron laws of economic development.
Josh Hawley is late to this anti-market orientation. Local and state Republicans (especially in Wisconsin) are veterans of intervening in the marketplace and directing public resources to their preferred private business recipients. The WEDC, Foxconn, and the Whitewater Community Development Authority have engaged in years of arrogant (and ineffectual) marketplace intervention. A local community development authority should have looked, this last decade, like more than a landlord’s ramshackle clubhouse.
Long before the national GOP lost its way, local Republicans in places like Whitewater had abandoned sound theory for their own ludicrously unjustified sense of entitlement.