Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Soft Tyranny

Michael Gerson, chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has written that "if Republicans run in future elections with a simplistic anti-government message, ignoring the poor, the addicted and children at risk, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose." Gerson argues for a "compassionate conservatism" and "faith-based initiatives" in which the federal government plays a central role.

Gerson all but ignores liberty's successes and the civil society in which humans flourish, even though he is surrounded in his every moment by its magnificence. So numerous are liberty's treasures that they defy cataloguing. The object of Gerson's scorn is misplaced. Gerson does not ask, "How many enterprises and jobs might have been created, how many people might have been saved from illness and disease, how many more poor children might have been fed but for the additional costs, market dislocations, and management inefficiencies that distort supply and demand or discourage research and development as a result of the federal government's role?"

Liberty's permeance in American society often makes its manifestations elusive or invisible to those born into it. Even if liberty is acknowledged, it is often taken for granted and its permanence assumed. ...The Conservative does not despise government. He despises tyranny. This is precisely why the Conservative reveres the Constitution and insists on adherence to it. An "effective" government that operates outside its constitutional limitations is a dangerous government. ...The Conservative is alarmed by the ascent of a soft tyranny and its cheery acceptance by the neo-Statist.

-Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny

No comments: