Mark Stein’s latest column, “The Death of the American Idea,” is a must read. It begins:
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
“Live free or die!”
What’s that? Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just trying out slogans for the 2012 campaign and seeing which one would get the biggest laughs.
…and ends with:
I disagree with my fellow conservatives who think the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Frank liberal behemoth will so obviously screw up that they’ll be routed in two or four years’ time. The President-elect’s so-called “tax cut” will absolve 48 per cent of Americans from paying any federal income tax at all, while those that are left will pay more. Just under half the population will be, as Daniel Henninger pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, on the dole. By 2012, it will be more than half, and this will be an electorate where the majority of the electorate will be able to vote itself more lollipops from the minority of their compatriots still dumb enough to prioritize self-reliance, dynamism, and innovation over the sedating cocoon of the nanny state. That is the death of the American idea — which, after all, began as an economic argument: “No taxation without representation” is a great rallying cry. “No representation without taxation” has less mass appeal. For how do you tell an electorate living high off the entitlement hog that it’s unsustainable and you’ve got to give some of it back?
At that point, America might as well apply for honorary membership in the European Union. It will be a nation at odds with the spirit of its founding, and embarking on decline from which there are few escape routes. In 2012, the least we deserve is a choice between the collectivist assumptions of the Democrats, and a candidate who stands for individual liberty — for economic dynamism not the sclerotic “managed capitalism” of Germany; for the First Amendment, not Canadian-style government regulation of approved opinion; for self-reliance and the Second Amendment, not the security state in which Britons are second only to North Koreans in the number of times they’re photographed by government cameras in the course of going about their daily business. In Forbes this week, Claudia Rosett issued a stirring defense of individual liberty. That it should require a stirring defense at all is a melancholy reflection on this election season. Live free — or die from a thousand beguiling caresses of nanny-state sirens.
In between, he makes a powerful case. ◄Dave►