More Growth That's Less
So in Q4 the economy only grew by 4%, instead of 4.8%. I suppose someone is going to get upset over this. Can't wait.
There is nothing absurd or impractical in the idea of a league or alliance among independent nations, for certain defined purposes precisely stated in a treaty; regulating all the details of time, place, circumstance, and quantity; leaving nothing to future discretion; and depending for its execution on the good faith of the parties. Compacts of this kind exist among all civilized nations subject to the usual vicissitudes of peace and war, of observance and non-observance, as the interests or passions of the contracting powers dictate. In the early part of the present century, there was an epidemical rage in Europe for this species of compacts; from which the politicians of the times fondly hoped for benefits which were never realised. With a view to establishing the equilibrium of power and the peace of that part of the world, all the resources of negotiation were exhausted, and triple and quadruple alliances were formed; but they were scarcely formed before they were broken, giving and instructive but afflicting lesson to manking how little dependence is to be placed on treaties which have no other sanction than the obligations of good faith; and which oppose general considerations of peace and justice to the impulse of any immediate interest and passion.
Indeed, the pessimism of this weekend's international congress reflects the fear that Hayek attributed to conservatives. So does Messrs. Kristol and Brooks's proposed governing doctrine, which is best understood as William James's "moral equivalent of war"—a desire to engineer a purpose for Americans who seem too dangerously decadent to be left to their own devices.
But it's one thing to pursue genuine national interests through foreign policy, quite another to cook up schemes just to give government something to do and the American people something to rally around. Harking back to the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and New Republic co-founder Herbert Croly, Messrs. Kristol and Brooks seek the promise of American life in collective pursuits directed from Washington according to their own cultural prejudices.