The Obsolete New York Model

More important still, the propounders of the individualist work ethic, from Alexander Hamilton onward, had it right: a free society isn’t one that alleviates the burden of supporting ourselves and our families, but rather one that provides the opportunity to labor in a way that brings to light whatever human excellence may lie within us--a way that perhaps even adds to the sum of human progress. As opposed to FDR’s immense governmental machine throbbing mightily at the end of history, how much grander is Edmund Burke’s vision of society as “a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection.” It is a vision in which some can be the Titans Roosevelt rejected--not just the Morgans and the Vanderbilts that New York produced, but also its Edith Whartons and its Herman Melvilles. Most crucially, all can be humans, free citizens with a sense of purpose, not cogs.

via The Obsolete New York Model by Myron Magnet, City Journal 16 July 2009.