The brilliance of Ross Douthat
Ross Douthat is a voice in the wilderness. (The wilderness is, of course, the New York Times.)
Ross has not only captured the essence of Obama’s big government America but he’s boiled it down to a bumper sticker which the left can now offer: the government will solve your problems.
Big government thus becomes Staples with its “easy” button.
Skeptics ask “If big government were going to solve our problems, wouldn’t they already be solved by now?” Or “If deficit spending could fix the economy, shouldn’t it be in grand shape by now?” Similarly they can point the failures across history of government to solve people’s problems; consider Nazi Germany, the USSR, Cambodia, and Red China for starters.
The reality is big government does not create value that’s commensurate with it’s costs. That, and the reality the poor you shall always have with you.
Big government promises to solve economic problems, disassociation, single parenthood, and the challenges it has itself created, fostered, and fermented via multiple moral hazards:
…the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.
Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women…
…the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.
It seems that liberals fail to acknowledge that man is a fallen creature and that government is made up of flawed human beings just like us. The bigger the government (or the more powerful the government; they seem to go hand in hand), the bigger the accumulated flaws. The founding fathers had it right: government is to be constrained and not encouraged.
Non-government solutions—like families or the Church—face the challenge of still having to work through flawed human beings but generally with a better root-cause analysis. That is, they more often acknowledge our problems are first a condition of the heart (or of our basic nature) and somewhere after that, a condition of the pocketbook.