We need some government, obviously, but at this point in American history, in order to save our nation, we need to get the state as much as possible out of our lives, to cut its functions with a meat cleaver to release our better impulses, to have the renewal of Spring. Deep down even some modern liberals realize this. (Bill Clinton famously said the era of big government is over before running the other way as if in fear of his own honesty.)
In this coming crucial year, those of us who feel the overweening state is the problem must reach out our hands to our fellow citizens as never before. My sense is that many of them are ready to hear our message. (The fiasco of Obamacare has been a gift in that regard.) And if we don’t reach out our hands, there will be no American Spring. Things will only get worse. (The horrific attempt of the FCC to monitor newsrooms is a harbinger of totalitarian things to come.)
I am one of those eternal optimists who think we are on the brink of this American Spring. Another, whether he knows it or not, is ironically Joe Trippi, once the campaign manager for Howard Dean, a statist of the first order. (See Trippi’s interview with Reason magazine in which he foresees a libertarian-oriented president in the near future.) Possible allies can be found in more quarters than we know.
But in order to achieve this American Spring, those who favor a diminished state must exercise discipline and kindness as never before. They should avoid internal rectification campaigns (shooting their own, looking for ideological perfection that doesn’t exist). We are not communists. That’s what they do.