I have long held Mr. Philip Klein in high regard, and hope to read more of his reflections on political developments in the future.
In “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” he makes a telling point: the “New Deal created the welfare state as we know it, and more significantly, changed the psychology of Americans so that they would look to government to solve their problems ever after, a legacy that Lyndon Johnson built on with his Great Society programs.”
This statement I agree with. And because I agree, I must take exception with — or at least wonder about — the statement from the closing paragraph: “America is still a right of center nation.”
Are we? I’m sure we’re to the right of France’s center, or Sweden’s. But if there was a truly objective way to plot a nation’s standing on a continuum of freedom to the right and statism to the left, could we truly be called a land of right-of center conservatives? We have surely shifted well to the left of where our own center was, just a generation ago.
John McCain is undeniably more conservative than Barack Obama, in the sense that Oakland is closer to the Atlantic than San Francisco. But if Goldwater is the exemplar of a conservative then — correct me if I’m wrong — there is no action in America taking place on the right side of an objective right-left line.
Our conservative party (conservative by the standard of the moment) is the one that gave us federally-funded pharmaceuticals, No Child Left Behind, IAIA (illegal amnesty for illegal aliens), and pointedly did not give us secure borders, nor a means to remove illegal foreigners from our midst.
Look again, please, at the first quotation above. Then look around you and see the effects of the new American psychology on American life. Formerly, American figured that having a government to fill in the potholes and deliver the mail was nice, as long as it didn’t get in the way of freedom. Now, as Mr. Klein points out, we trade away our freedoms to have the government solve whatever problem we are too ignorant or lazy to solve for ourselves. Statism came to us slowly and quietly, like a glacier, and like a glacier, statism is nearly impossible to turn back.p>What’s the worst that could happen? Look around. It already has. br> —