American comfort

Sarah Hoyt reminds readers at PJMedia.com that people in the United States of America enjoy the greatest level of comfort in the history of civilization.

The thing is, you stack all your cathedrals, all your palazzos, the broad expanses of European plazas, of arches and columns and ancient paintings, and they’re all very fine, very impressive, very worth seeing. But you can’t have them and ease and comfort in the same day. Because nowhere in Europe, no matter how much you’re paying (unless you are at the very top of the tree and paying multi-millionaire type of money) will you find the consistent comfort and ease of American life.

I don’t say this to be derogatory of Europe. They’re used to their little discomforts, they aren’t bothered by them, and that’s fine for them.

But we’re not made of the same stuff. The idea of America, where citizens rule and every man is a king, permeates our daily life.

Our system (derogatorily called consumerism) has unleashed market forces to cater to the comfort, the whims, and yes, the needs of the consumer.

I remember my mom being bewildered in the detergent aisle of our grocery store in a tiny town (we then lived in) in Colorado. “Who needed that many detergents?” she asked. Why the bewildering profusion?

My answer was: Because we can. Because they find a market.

Which is the essential point of this: No one decides what we need. No one says, like Bernie Sanders, “why do you need more than one brand of toothpaste?” Or rather, people like Bernie Sanders say it, and the rest of us answer, “Because we can. Because they find a market.”

Sheer competition, to make your product sell better than the next one leads you to add more features, more bells and whistles.

This is why many old manses in Europe have no heating, but our humblest mobile home has (usually forced air) heating, and more than likely air conditioning, too.

These are worthwhile thoughts to consider the next time you chat with a Bernie Sanders fan.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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