Everyone is infuriated by the huge budget deficits and the gigantic bailouts. Whatever happened to freedom, we ask? Whatever happened to limited government? Let's have a Tea Party on tax day, today, April 15!
Here in liberal Seattle, Washington, at the very heart of darkness, we're going to have a party on April 15 too.
People know that something is wrong. Taxes are too high. Government is too powerful. Something must be done.
Come now, says the liberal college professor: Taxes are the price of civilization!
Wrong again, dear liberal friend. For sure, taxes are the cost of defense against enemies, foreign and domestic. But taxes also fuel the sinecures of liberal college professors at government universities. Taxes are the raw material of political patronage.
Taxes are the cost of compulsion, not civilization.
The Tea Party movement may last a day or it may change America. But let us start out right. However high they are, the problem isn't taxes. And it isn't evil bankers either. It isn't even that public sector workers earn more than private sector workers. For doing less.
The problem is that every time you agree to let the government do something for you then you are giving away a bit of your freedom. You are giving politicians the power to rule over you, not just in the vital function of keeping the peace, but in the daily details of your life.
Giving away your freedom is easy. Taking it back is hard. One thing politicians are good at is humiliating people who dare to challenge them.
When you want to reform education they will ask whether you care enough to give poor kids a future.
When you want to reform health care they will ask whether you care enough to let poor kids see a doctor.
When you want to reform welfare they will ask whether you want to let poor kids starve.
Some people are tough enough that they can brush aside this sort of liberal shaming and blaming. After all, when you get it every day you start to tune it out. It is for the tough nuts like you and me that our liberal friends reserve their nutcracker: the fear gambit.
If you want to reform education they ask how your kids will be able to compete in today's world.
If you want to reform health care they ask if you could afford to a serious illness without your health benefits.
If you want to reform welfare they ask what you would do if you lost your job.
How do you deal with that sort of liberal fear-mongering?
You have to have courage. You have to be able to say: I don't need that stuff. And you have to mean it.
Until you can do that you remain a serf, living by the grace and favor of the great liberal lord on the liberal plantation.
And the size of government, the cost of compulsion, will keep going up.
Of course, by renouncing the benefits of the welfare state we do not give up on education, health care, and welfare. Not at all. We just declare before all the world that education, health care, and welfare are too important to hand over to politicians.
It's not just a practical thing; it's a moral question. We should be involved in the day-to-day social activity of educating our children, of helping sick family members, and relieving the poor.
When you involve yourself directly in these fundamental social activities, you remove them from the government factory system. You rescue kids from the government factory schools. You rescue granny from the factory assisted-living "facility." You rescue the low-income family from destruction in the government social welfare mill.
In the place of the government factory system you re-create a genuine face-to-face community based on meeting the special needs of individuals in your neighborhood. You grow genuine authority based not on the clunking fist of government compulsion but on real deeds that your neighbors remember.
Today, after a century of government growth, it takes a leap of faith to believe that these social needs could be met by society and not by government. So the conservative future will be built on faith. This is not a problem; everything in the world was built on faith. The current government factory system was built on the vision of thousands of liberal activists 50 and 100 years ago.
But now their liberal faith has turned out to be a delusion. Liberals thought that government programs to help the poor would create a kind, compassionate society where people would be sheltered from the harsh winds of oppression and indifference. Instead they have created a world of cruelty and injustice. They have collapsed the civilization of trust and reciprocity into a neo-feudal world of patronage and "rights."
One day liberals will wake up and find that America has moved on. Perhaps that day will be April 15, 2009.
Five months ago it seemed that our liberal friends had the wind behind them and a fair voyage ahead.
But in five short months a new grass-roots movement has debouched from America's living rooms onto the public square, a spontaneous eruption of the American spirit. And it was all done by rank amateurs, none of your "community organizers" with Alinsky's Rules for Radicals tucked away in the backpack.
Is this a great country, or what?