Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Role of Private Individuals and Voluntary Associations

Currently, I am reading through Richard Cornuelle's 1965 classic "Reclaiming the American Dream", the book is excellent. The post title is actually Cornuelle's subtitle for the book, I thought it to be more descriptive. The purpose for this post is to articulate some of the main points which I think are sterling and worthy of greater thought and research.

Cornuelle paints a portrait of an America that has strayed from its ability to simultaneously achieve a free society and a good society. Conservatives are told they lack compassion because they do not support government welfare programs. Liberals are called failures because their programs are generally unsuccessful. These two types of societies seem to be in constant conflict, but, Cornuelle points out, that was not always the case.

"We limited government, not only because we knew its limitations and wanted it limited, but because we left little for it to do."

Cornuelle also articulates his hope for the future, but, I will write about that in a later post. I'll leave you with two final points.

For the Conservative, Cornuelle advises them not to argue in terms of philosophy because people's hearts are not won by philosophical arguments of why a free society is better. He argues that people are pragmatic and want pressing issues to be promptly pursued and tackled. To date the government has been the only one willing to raise its hand to answer the bell.

For the Liberal, Cornuelle advises them to understand the limitations of government and not be sucked into cosmetic cures. He argues that their heart and desire for a changed and better world are wonderful but he also notices that they have one prescription for any problem: government. Cornuelle says that it limits their ability to be change in the world and leaves them only hoping that the next government program will be better than the one before.

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