You know that something is happening in the world when Bob Herbert and David Brooks write virtually the same words in the NYT (on the same page!).

Brooks reviews a new magazine, National Affairs, and praises it for occupying the middle ground (the “bloody crossroads”). But inevitably, he says, the magazine will have to deal with how government can inculcate altruistic personal behavior:

Can the state do anything to effectively promote virtuous behavior? Because when you get into the core problems, whether in Washington, California or on Wall Street, you keep seeing the same moral deficiencies: self-indulgence, irresponsibility and imprudence.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the op-ed page, we find this from Bob Herbert:

We’ve forgotten many of the fundamentals: how to live within our means, the benefits of shared sacrifice, the responsibilities that go with citizenship, the importance of a well-rounded education and tolerance.

It must be Elul. Here’s to doing better this year.