Too many Americans, goes the common complaint, want other people to pay for them. Yet the same is true in generational terms. We have been able to live well, and do well, because we inherited a rich, well-functioning country, but for a long time now—I’m thinking of the tax revolt that began in 1978—we have refused to do our share to keep it going. Essentially, the bootstrap crowd is living off the civic-minded willingness to sacrifice of those who came before. The problem, in India, isn’t simply that the country is poor, but also that it has a very weak idea of the public good.Read the whole thing.
For me, a few days in Cambodia undid more of my youthful, reflexive libertarianism than a thousand editorials or blog posts ever could. Infrastructure matters, a lot. Public goods exist. And Americans in this era are much more used to having them than we are to the idea that we actually have to keep paying for them.