Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny
Moderates seem to have a particular balanced sense of reality that is often lacking in the hard left or right. David Brooks is one of those reasoned moderate journalists that while not always agreeing with his positions I do find him often making lots of sense.
His recent New York Times article entitled The Age of Innocence is a statement on current political realities and how far we have regressed from our founders vision. Following are what I consider to be the highlights of his article. I also note that where you see ... indicates references to Europe have been omitted, temporarily.
The people who pioneered democracy in... the United States had a low but pretty accurate view of human nature. They knew that if we get the chance, most of us will try to get something for nothing. They knew that people generally prize short-term goodies over long-term prosperity. So, in centuries past, the democratic pioneers built a series of checks to make sure their nations wouldn’t be ruined by their own frailties.For nearly 125 years the foresight of these pioneers, our founding fathers held the nation and its government pretty much in check, and balance.
The American founders did this by decentralizing power. They built checks and balances to frustrate and detain the popular will. They also dispersed power to encourage active citizenship, hoping that as people became more involved in local government, they would develop a sense of restraint and responsibility.Unfortunately in the early days of the 19th century the forces of European socialism began to take root in the progressive movement in America and the resulting movement away from restraint and decentralized power.
James Madison put it well: “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind, which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence.”Boy isn't that a real mouthful of truth? Many Americans are certainly in line with hands outstretched to take whatever they can get from Leviathan. Without considering the ultimate costs or the nations inability to sustain some the "entitlements" they have grown used to and demand on a ever increasing trend.
But, over the years, this balanced wisdom was lost. Leaders today do not believe their job is to restrain popular will. Their job is to flatter and satisfy it. A gigantic polling apparatus has developed to help leaders anticipate and respond to popular whims. Democratic politicians adopt the mind-set of marketing executives. Give the customer what he wants. The customer is always right.
Having lost a sense of their own frailty, many voters have come to regard their desires as entitlements...
The consequences of this shift are now obvious. In... America, governments have made promises they can’t afford to fulfill. At the same time, the decision-making machinery is breaking down. America... still have the structures inherited from the past, but without the self-restraining ethos that made them function.Mr.Brooks really nails it here. Our system has certainly become dysfunctional. With the Obama Presidency we see a accelerated pace down the very path that has been in large part responsible for our continuing fiscal insanity and growing dependance on Leviathan government.
The American decentralized system of checks and balances has transmogrified into a fragmented system that scatters responsibility. Congress is capable of passing laws that give people benefits with borrowed money, but it gridlocks when it tries to impose self-restraint.
The Obama campaign issues its famous “Julia” ad, which perfectly embodies the vision of government as a national Sugar Daddy, delivering free money and goodies up and down the life cycle. The Citizens United case gives well-financed interests tremendous power to preserve or acquire tax breaks and regulatory deals. American senior citizens receive health benefits that cost many times more than the contributions they put into the system.
Now for the connection to Europe and the socialist mindset so prevalent in European nations.
In Europe, workers across the Continent want great lifestyles without long work hours. They want dynamic capitalism but also personal security. European welfare states go broke trying to deliver these impossibilities.See the parallels that exist with European socialism and the path American is trending? In reality our nation is only several years behind the situation Europeans find themselves in. Isn't time to consider the consequences of our actions and begin to hold ourselves responsible and accountable?
The European ruling classes once had their power checked through daily contact with the tumble of national politics. But now those ruling classes have built a technocratic apparatus, the European Union, operating far above popular scrutiny. Decisions that reshape the destinies of families and nations are being made at some mysterious, transnational level. Few Europeans can tell who is making decisions or who is to blame if they go wrong, so, of course, they feel powerless and distrustful.
Read Mr. Brooks entire article here.