“Government Isn’t Synonymous with Civil Society”

Jonah Goldberg points out how society breaks down when we abandon our shared traditions and morals:

…the cause is a breakdown in shared norms, customs, language, and the other often invisible and intangible but no less real sinews that bind a community together.

Family breakdown, the decline in good blue-collar jobs, the decline of organized religion, etc., are all equally good or better examples of things sapping the strength from social trust and cohesion and encouraging government to pick up the slack. In Europe, charitable giving and voluntarism are anemic because people think charity is what they pay taxes for. The churches are all subsidized but the pews are empty.

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