By ROBERT L CAPEHERT
FIRSTLY, it is important to distinguish between what is truly exceptional about the free republic constitutional government animates, and the exceptionalism often championed by the populist right – be it from religious cultural conservatives, or mainstream (slash, pop) conservatives.
Both are fundamentally without ability to untangle the building blocks of culture, religion, and societal improvement apart from government – which explains the lack of contrast between so-called conservatives and leftist statists.
Statists see government as the “state” in contrast to Albert Jay Nock’s notion of limited government. As such, the state becomes the building block of economic mobility, wealth equality – as well as the champion of moral advancement – though a divergent moral vision from cultural traditionalists.
Likewise, cultural conservatives also see the building blocks of economic freedom, cultural improvement, and moral vision as found in the seat of government.
Both paradigms have, and continue to grow government – looking to government to be more involved with American’s individual life. As government grows, so does cultural and economic dislocation, and of recent development, the notion of the police state.
Both paradigms require not a government hemmed in by enumerated and limited powers – but an ever-growing state to shape, form, and create particular kind of citizens.
Both paradigms have failed to produce economic mobility for larger swaths of the American populace, and have surmounted an unsustainable fiscal liability upon current and future generations.
As said before – especially by folks like Mark Steyn – no country has ever been as broke as the American nation is in our day.
And how exceptional is that?
How exceptional is the greatest super-power to ever exist when it occupies acreage in which it starts and cannot win wars against seventh century herders – creates chaos around the world decoupled from being vital national security threats – and impoverishes millions of retirees through massive printing of money and adds to the monstrous list of unfunded liabilities, robbing the value of American’s wealth?
And how exceptional are the American people (generally considered) to continue to double-down on such self-destructive behaviour in elected leadership?
All the structural apparatus, which girds and supports our free society are being dismantled by preference-based policy and deleterious fiscal policy, crippling the nations ability to not only be free, but prosperous.
It has been said before, and for many who know personally; massive debt and freedom do not make good bedfellows. They are opposites – they are antipodes. And they are destroying a nation in which the constitution was knitted together by the premise of 18th century liberalism that presumed a government founded by the people, for the people, of the people.
And it must be said (and admitted) that the more statist America becomes, the more consequence such polices assert themselves within American life. Such realities are not easily understood through the “back to the 1950’s” traditionalism of the Romney campaign.
There were (are!) discernable reasons Romney lost to Pres. Barack Obama.
We can dissect the Romney campaign all day and all night. And much of that autopsy has occurred on The Libertarian Republic by Mr Beilstein and yours truly. But the fundamental take away should move far beyond talking up America of yesteryear as such tact does not address the concerns of today and tomorrow; where Americans are stuck in problematic stagnation.
The more cultural dislocation, the more economic immiseration – the more deeper conservatives and libertarians will have to apply their philosophical free minds, slash, free market concepts, which as it were, recognise the reality upon which Americans live and the need to reform government according to constitutional precepts.
And turning things around means respecting Federalism and understanding the goal is the preservation and animation of a free society. It also presumes the richness of localism where social issues find their most prescient application.
And so what is needed is not enabled by superficial American exceptionalism in a vacuum. The problems of American leadership and government run far deeper – and so the answers to those problems will need to far more robust.