on Yuval Levin:
more; this piece sort of waffles away at the end, which is better than proposing a five-point plan of solutuionism but still not esp satisfying. But I really liked the “job as mediating institution” point and the way Lapp points out how often economically-conservative writing treats employers as helpless. They aren’t agents and therefore moral exhortations aren’t addressed to them. See also the portrayal of American churches in Roger & Me, as vs the medieval French church.
Yuval Levin believes that neither hyperindividualism nor centralization can help financially struggling Americans like Lance, whom I wrote about yesterday in the first part of my review of Levin’s The Fractured Republic. I basically agree with Levin and found his focus on empowering mediating institutions—beginning in the family and spreading outward to places like schools, religious congregations, and the marketplace—right on point. And it’s precisely because I agree with him that I found his discussion about the economic challenges confronting struggling Americans disappointing.
Why? Employers are mediating institutions, too, and many that employ low-skilled employees are failing their employees. However, in Levin’s account, my friend Lance mostly needs a skilled job; he doesn’t have much to say about the concrete challenges that confront low-skilled workers in their current low-wage jobs.