Friday, December 26, 2008

My goal is to make government as unhip as it has ever been

From today's New York Times Op-Ed page, Paul Krugman mentions Obama wanting to make government cool again. I must have missed that little nugget along the way. It's just like I said last week, the emerging thread here is to marginalize those of us who reject big government by any other name.

Maybe it's just me, but it certainly feels like the battle to control our modern political narrative has intensified greatly over the past few months. Obama wants to make government cool again and Paul Krugman chimes in with his editorial, seeking to rewrite history. George Bush, the President who gave us more government growth than Bill Clinton did, is painted as the intellectual leader of an anti-government ideology that supposedly has controlled Washington for the past eight years. Except, I've never heard Bush say anything remotely anti-government during his years in the White House, nor have any of his budgets, new regulations, or massive bailout plans ever seemed remotely anti-government. Rather, the anti-government meme seems to be more a product of the left, who would much rather chalk up the Bush Administration's failures to a polar opposite ideology than face the practical limitations of government.

Matt Welch noted this morning on Hit and Run, that he can't comprehend why the leftist critics of capitalism "presumes/pretends that all enthusiasts of capitalism prefer no rules at all in the functioning of markets" when "[t]hose of us who aren't quite ready to abolish the state tend to be in favor of a more limited, and much more smart, set of clear rules that are based largely on transparency, cost-benefit-analysis, and fairness (i.e., so that the system can't be gamed to favor certain large investment banks or quasi-governmental entities that lard the political system with campaign contributions)." In the end, it doesn't really matter if this is an intellectually honest argument or not. What it's about is putting in place the popular narrative for years to come. As I've noted before, libertarians are still fighting an uphill battle in regards to the Great Depression and the New Deal and that same battle over the narrative is once again what we're facing today.


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