Isn’t this where we want to be, where we used to be?

By “liberal,” I don’t mean big-state welfarism. I mean the tenets and spirit of liberal democracy. Respect for the outcome of elections, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and the principle (in courts of law and public opinion alike) of innocent until proven guilty. Respect for the free market, bracketed by sensible regulation and cushioned by social support. Deference to personal autonomy but skepticism of identity politics. A commitment to equality of opportunity, not “equity” in outcomes. A well-grounded faith in the benefits of immigration, free trade, new technology, new ideas, experiments in living. Fidelity to the ideals and shared interests of the free world in the face of dictators and demagogues.

Bret Stephen’s New York Times March 15, 2020

In years gone by through both Republican and Democratic administrations (as the full commentary notes) this is pretty much where we used to be in America, the reasonable middle with a touch of personal responsibility.

What happened, how did we come to embrace extremes? How did we go from respecting initiative and individual responsibility to an obsession with entitlement and finding scapegoats to blame for our failures?

How did we come to believe we deserved more from government, that government is the solution and that solution is free or more accurately with other individuals and generations footing the bill?

How were we made to believe there is no longer opportunity and that we have a right to be relieved of consequences resulting from our decisions?

6 comments

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  3. “How did we come to believe we deserved more from government, that government is the solution and that solution is free or more accurately with other individuals and generations footing the bill?”

    Who is currently footing the bill??? We have some of the lowest tax rates ever and are quickly approaching 30 Trillion Dollars in total federal government debt. My taxes paid for 2020 on $37,104 in total retirement income = Federal zero, State $62. State will drop to about $22 next year because I will get an additional $2,850 state personal exemption for turning 65, like my wife did for 2020. In 1985 I paid $597 on taxable income of $5,423. Adjusted for inflation $5,423 = $13,593, $597 = $1,488 today. My income today would be equal to $14,850 in 1985 and I would have $7,140 in taxable income and owe $857 in taxes = $2,137 today. It is crazy that adjusted for inflation, I have more income than I had in 1985 and I pay less taxes.
    About 50% of taxpayers pay zero federal income tax or very low effective tax rates. Many of us, who are benefiting with lower taxes today, will be dead way before all hell breaks lose and the economy crashes. No matter what happens, the future standard of living of about 80% of our citizens will be much lower because of the lower tax rates and the out of control spending of our political elite, today.

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  4. Just where did we “used to be”. The Klan? The poll tax? More lynchings in Texas? I’d be happy to return to a liberal heaven, such as you describe. I have been a liberal democrat since I became politically conscious when I was in high school. But we’ve never been there. And conservative forces in contemporary America hearken back to our much darker version of where we “used to be”.

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  5. Quinn, Are you asking or making a statement? I saw the change during the Obama administration. Instead of a bridge to cross and understand the other side it all changed to the point a town name Freedom is being build, not to be a multi race community, in Georgia. I am looking forward to a reality show from Freedom, Georgia.

    Have a great weekend!

    Martin Brasstown, NC.

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