What ails Western nations? Something has clearly gone badly awry, but mainstream analysts and commentators are unable to explain it. They fail to see what’s obvious: most people’s time horizons have become too short to generate the material prosperity they presently demand – and which politicians assure them is their “entitlement.” Yet short-termism and promissory politics are merely surface manifestations; what fundamentally ails us is the idol of democracy. Debt, deficit, penury, stagnation and war inevitably follow in its wake. Few democratic rulers’ time horizons were shorter than Winston Churchill’s; accordingly, few did so much damage to his country and the world as he did. Today’s rulers and their stooges in the universities and media exacerbate democracy’s ill effects.
The trouble for today and tomorrow is that democracy’s enthusiasts wilfully ignore or vehemently deny the necessary conditions of liberty, peace and prosperity – namely private property, sound money, genuine savings, long time horizons and profit. This book offers a map out of the mainstream’s morass. Its lodestar is the ethic – which Benjamin Franklin epitomised – of the owners of businesses and of self-funded retirees, i.e., what used to be called “bourgeoisie” or “rentiers.”
Members of this embattled class richly deserve praise and emulation because they possess the antidote – the Robinson Crusoe Ethic – to the Distemper of Our Times.