The Corner

‘No Single Person Can . . .’

 In his inaugural today, the president indulged his penchant for straw men.

For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or Communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.

Who has ever claimed that a single person could build highways or train thousands of teachers? The question is not whether people will work together, but whether that cooperation will take place though the marketplace, the voluntary sector, or the government. In his 1981 inaugural, President Reagan was clear on the role of government:

Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it’s not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.

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