Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R., Michigan) is author of the new book Seize Freedom! American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He talked to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about the truths and the chaos therein.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: “Reverent citizens struggle to make sense of an increasingly perverse society disdainful of — and destructive to — our traditional culture of faith, truth, virtue, and beauty, if the existence of these permanent things is even admitted.” What does a congressmen know about these things?
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter: I once read about them in National Review and Creem magazine.
: You’re a student of history: What’s so chaotic about this age?
Representative McCotter: We face simultaneously the social, political, and economic upheavals of globalization; a worldwide war against an evil, transnational enemy and its allied rogue regimes; the rise of Communist China as a strategic threat and rival model of governance; and the issue of whether a nation built upon self-evident truths can survive the cancer of moral relativism. Other than this, it’s good times.
Lopez: You write about American exceptionalism, and the president seems to be going there, too, after dismissing such talk, comparing our sense of founding pride to that of any Greek citizen. What do you make of that? Why would you encourage people to be skeptical about what he’s selling?
Representative McCotter: Since our founding, America has not emulated the world; America has inspired the world. Especially in light of the challenges we and the world face, we will not be the first generation of Americans to become followers instead of leaders.
Lopez: Are we really too free to fail?
Representative McCotter: Washington must stop taxing, borrowing, spending, and regulating to prop up the outdated, unsustainable model of Big Government and “Too Big to Fail” businesses. In the Age of Globalization — and its communications revolution, which empowers individuals to purchase goods or contact people around the world in seconds from the palm of their hand or their desktops — the decentralized, horizontal “consumer-driven economy” has compelled private enterprises and, indeed, families to make a difficult restructuring of operations and priorities in order to compete and thrive. Only Big Government and its cohorts in Big Business have been able to resist such restructuring and, when in trouble, borrow money and/or bail each other out. This is not sustainable. To achieve “a free and humane 21st-century economy” requires transforming the highly centralized, vertical Big Government into a “citizen-driven government”; allowing the new economy’s competitive energies to force highly centralized, vertical Big Businesses to be smaller, more entrepreneurial, more responsive, and more accountable to consumers; and holding both accountable to the taxpayers.
Lopez: How is this statement, from your book, fair? “There are still some traditional working-class Democrats who love God and country, guns and their union, but they are an endangered species.”
Representative McCotter: Doubtless it is unfair that culturally conservative Democrats have been marginalized within the party, which is now controlled by its extreme left wing. I hope these abandoned Democrats follow Ronald Reagan’s path to the Republican party, or at least my late father’s path into the voting booth to elect conservative candidates.