A reader offers a heartfelt comment on my Tuesday Paul/Thompson post, in which I mentioned that the only person I knew who was hot for Reagan in 1976 was a recent refugee from communist Eastern Europe:
How interesting that you mention the east European refugee who was “hot for Reagan” in 1976. East Europe, but now the post-communist version, also plays a big role in my admiration of Paul’s push for the possibility of small government. It still is a testing ground for freedom in Western civilisation (which in fact includes much of what we call “eastern” in Europe).
Clearly the trouble is that too many Americans (and west Europeans) have strayed from classical liberalism and are now statists in ideological disguise. They no longer believe that life under limited government is possible. They are dead wrong. We have seen in recent times the actual collapse of giant state powers in eastern Europe, leading to immense material and spiritual benefits for individuals, communities and nations. Think the Baltics. Think Poland. Think Russia, despite many difficulties. And so on.
Yes, transition poses material challenges, but people who go from gummed-up economic and political life under repressive statist systems actually love becoming free, because to become free is to be allowed the unfettered enjoyment of what God has already given us. How sickly ironic that the US presses for such risk-loving change abroad but dares not do so at home.
Paul is right. You really can get rid of the tax system. A lot will fall apart, but after an initial freefall life will improve immensely. The more statist we become in the West, the more we need the kind of systemic collapse we are so keen to see in other parts of the world — the primary difference being that we in the West pretend we have not systemically embraced the Marxist project, so do not know we need to destroy it within our own countries, within our own selves.
Since the collapse of communism, I have lived in several places in eastern Europe where the system fell apart. Yes, there is risk, real material risk accompanied by political “chaos” — but it is gloriously free in a way we once were, and to taste that air is sweet indeed. As an American living in the UK, how I wish it could be tasted in these countries again.
[Me] Yep, the primary season sure is fun. At its top levels, though, it’s still a contest between 60 percent statists and 80 percent statists. Things could be otherwise. Things could be otherwise. Oh, why do I bother?