“Cheerful” Thoughts

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Fred Reed ends a recent column with this:

America is no longer “one nation under God” (who is, I suppose, an undocumented alien). It is an unhappy land of warring tribes, of peoples who have nothing in common and do not like each other. Blacks, whites, browns, Syrians, Somalis, Southerners, Yankees, Christians, mostly detesting each other. The battle lines are drawn. The question is what kind of battle it will be.

I agree with Reed’s “warring tribes” characterization. But mutual detestation will not lead to combat. It will lead to an increasing fragmentation of America into mutually loathing identity groups.

And, as Trumpania makes clear, one result will be more government, not less. Whichever coalition of warring groups is in power, government will expand to fulfill the wishes of that coalition. And the ascension to power of different coalitions will simply lead to the further expansion of government, without any shrinkage of the functions added under previous coalitions.

As I have written elsewhere, the aggrandizement of government in the United States can be characterized by three metaphors: the slippery slope, the ratchet effect, and the death-spiral (of liberty). The Tea Party movement is effectively dead; the true lovers of liberty are a minuscule fraction of the electorate; the thought police are at the door; and with diminished defenses and expanded welfare programs, America is a hair’s-breadth from an economically stagnant, morally bankrupt European-style “social democracy.”

The next administration — or the next one, at most — will finish the job of fundamentally transforming America. Barack Obama certainly did his part, but the transformation has been a long time in the making. And it seems irreversible.

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