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The Man Without A Plan

Plans are dangerous because someone might scrutinize them. Someone might point out that Social Security was enacted in 1935, when life expectancy was 61.7 (It is now 77.9 and increasing), and, if it isn’t overhauled, it’s finished. No, you better stay away from these plans. Better to have vague theories and pronouncements. (No, I’m not going to say “hope and change,” but you know I was about to.)

All is not lost, however, in this most unPanglossian world. When you are finally able to shake free of liberal-statist ideas or, as Miniter explains, are forced to abandon them because the state itself is broke (not yet Greece, but close enough), you get a tremendous bonus: the pleasure of self-reliance.

When finally free from the bromides of their ultra-bourgeois ideology, even liberals realize you feel better when you do things for yourself. Most of us know from our own families and friends that the happiest people are those who have made their own way, not those who have had life handed to them, either by inheritance or from the state.

This is not to say that there are not those so handicapped that the state should step in. Of course there are. But a pathology developed throughout the West, as masked Marxist thinking permeated society, that allowed our cultures to be more dominated by the public sector than even Stalin could have dreamed of. After all, he advocated "socialism in one country" (the Soviet Union). Meanwhile, Gramsci almost won. Socialism arrived in the West through the back door of the academy and the arts. The etiology of this development could easily fill a book, and Obama (who Miniter sees as Gorbachev) would be worth a couple of chapters by himself, but it’s time to look on the bright side.

We are at a crossroads from which we can all emerge stronger. There will be many plans proffered, some better than others. But we should always remember this: America was built on freedom, self-reliance and personal generosity. Real caring for others, real progress -- collaborative and otherwise -- stems from that, not from state decrees, endless bureaucracy and regulation. De Tocqueville knew that way back in the early Nineteenth Century. It's a lesson we have to relearn again and again. All hard things are like that. They tend to slip away.

But time is on the side of our country and culture again. We are a giant boat finally turning in the right direction. Have patience -- we will get there.