The picture and the following comments are from PowerLine, by John Hinderaker:
Once we are governed by a majority that no longer believes in the America of the Founding, is there any path back to freedom and prosperity? The next four years will bring unprecedented levels of spending, borrowing and taxation. The national debt will rise to $20 trillion or more. When interest rates increase, as they inevitably must, interest costs will squeeze out other government spending. That might not be all bad, except that defense will go first. If Obama’s second term turns into a disaster, fiscal or otherwise, voter revulsion may return the Republicans to power. But that doesn’t mean that America will be saved.
To me, the most telling incident of the campaign season was a poll that found that among young Americans, socialism enjoys a higher favorability rating than free enterprise. How can this possibly be, given the catastrophic failure of socialism, and the corresponding success of free enterprise, throughout history? The answer is that conservatives have entirely lost control over the culture. The educational system, the entertainment industry, the news media and every cultural institution that comes to mind are all dedicated to turning out liberals. To an appalling degree, they have succeeded. Historical illiteracy is just one consequence. Unless conservatives somehow succeed in regaining parity or better in the culture, the drift toward statism will inevitably continue, even if Republicans win the occasional election.
This is not primarily the job of politicians, but politicians cannot escape it, either. I have been grumbling for a long time that Ronald Reagan was the last politician who made a real effort to teach the principles of conservatism to the American public. Since the 1980s, we have largely been coasting on his legacy. The prevailing assumption has been that America is a center-right country, and if Republican politicians run a good tactical campaign and get their voters to the polls, they will generally win. That strategy no longer works, and conservative politicians need to try much harder not just to appeal to conservative voters, but to help create new ones.
The stark question posed by the country’s unmistakable drift to the left is, does America have a future? Can we once again become a beacon of freedom, or will talented young Americans be forced to look elsewhere for opportunity? Barack Obama’s budget–the one that was too extreme to garner a single vote in either the House or the Senate–projects that in four years, we will have a $20 trillion debt. That debt will be paid off by a relatively small minority of our young people, the most productive. If you were in that category, and had to make a choice between staying in the United States and inheriting a debt that could well be $1 million or more, and starting fresh in another country, what would you do? And if you were an investor, where would you put your money? In the United States, where hopelessness reigns and where high unemployment and close to zero growth are now accepted as normal, or in a country with limited government and a dynamic, growing economy?
These are dark days, indeed.
Yes, they are. We agree with almost all John Hinderaker says.
But what is this other country he speaks of? Where is it? What is its name? Where is there freedom and prosperity? Where is there hope? The whole world is Islamic, communist, or declining. The few other countries that are similar to the United States in that they are genuinely democratic, ruled by law and not a despot, still allow their citizens a fair measure of individual freedom, and so are comfortably prosperous, are afflicted with the same sickness as America and declining like America. They are those first colonized by Anglo-Saxons as Britain spread its empire: Canada, Australia, New Zealand. (Switzerland could be added to the short list and seems not yet to have been taken very ill, but how long can it remain immune?) Britain itself, if not quite as bad yet as the rest of Western Europe, has the sickness in an advanced phase.
To try to name the disease is to try to diagnose it. So what are the symptoms and what do they indicate? And once diagnosed, can it be cured?
That will be the subject of another post.