Consumer Welfare

By Daniel Larison

At the TAC main blog, Clark Stooksbury points us to this gem from Limbaugh:

How does it make you feel that Zhang Linsen has a big Hummer with nine speakers blaring as he pulls out into a four-lane road with so much smog he basically can’t see the car in front of him, and you are trading in all of your cars and trying to go out and find basically a lawn mower?

Actually, it makes me feel relieved that I don't live in smog-infested cities where marathoners collapse and die because of the pollution.  Limbaugh offers here the absurd spectacle of "conservatism" as the embrace of endless consumption and degradation of nature, and really what this reveals is a desire to belong to something like a pink subsidy state (a modified version of what James has called the pink police state).  The implication here seems to be that if the market can no longer accommodate sufficient levels of consumption, the state should come in to subsidize that consumption and over-consumption, but above all it is a declaration that egregiously conspicuous consumption has something to do with national status and power.  Of course, if you were to suggest to a mainstream conservative that support for consumerism is a common or accepted view among them, you would be immediately denounced as a closet socialist who wants to impoverish everyone, unlike all those high-minded economic conservatives who just happen to defend all forms of consumption out of respect for freedom.

Cross-posted at Eunomia