What we have here is a fundamental conflict of visions, to borrow a phrase from Thomas Sowell. One side believes that people are born into their station in life and it is the government's job to make their miserable lives a little better. Indeed, it is the natural order of things for the government to provide jobs, health care, homes to the people. If you object to this concept of government, it must be because you want to "punish" the downtrodden and discriminated. You must be animated by racism, sexism, greed, "fascism!"
The other side says that our rights come from God, not from government. That while the government has an obligation to promote the general welfare, it doesn't have a holy writ to design the nation as it sees fit. The Constitution is not a coupon insert in your local paper, brimming with all sorts of giveaways and two-for-one deals. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights delineate what the government cannot do, not what it can. What was so fantastic and revolutionary about that is that for the first time in history, a nation was founded on the proposition that the government should mind its own business. Believing that doesn't make you a fascist, it makes you a patriot.
But the leaders of one America don't see it that way, and probably never will. Which is why, whatever happens in Congress in the coming days and weeks, it will be "two Americas" for a very long time.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Jonah Goldberg Puts It Well
It's been a while since I've heard this political division described so well and succinctly. Enjoy: