J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, which I read last week and recommend (reviews: Aaron Renn, City Journal; Robert Pondiscio, U.S. News) is not as political a book as the early reviewers made it sound, and Vance takes an unsentimental view of the unlikeliness of political solutions to cure the cultural ills of families and communities he knows from his youth. Here and there he does have a few words to say about laws, though. From Helen Dale’s review in the London Spectator:
He points out – with his poor credit history – that he has had recourse to payday lenders. On one occasion, he avoided a large overdraft fee. Without a payday lender, he’d have been forced to go to a loan shark – which, given the drug culture among poor whites, could have been injurious to his health.
‘The legislators debating the merits of payday lending didn’t mention situations like that,’ he notes. ‘The lesson? Powerful people sometimes do things to help people like me without really understanding people like me’.