The Corner

Our Finest Hour

Ever since this health care “debate” got going, I’ve worried that American conservatives underestimate the ability of Big Government to transform the character of a people. After all, the Euro-weenies weren’t always Euro-weenies – else how would they have conquered the entire planet? Readers who think I’m just a mopey downer loser (as not a few do) might prefer this alternative take from Hillsdale’s Paul Rahe. While “agreeing with almost every word” of mine, he has an entirely different conclusion:

We are not yet a people apt to acquiesce in dictates handed down by our lords and masters. When Britain and Canada drifted into socialism, there were no tea parties spontaneously formed by ordinary citizens to buck the trend. The British and the Canadians lacked the spirit of resistance – though, to be fair, it lived on in the likes of Margaret Thatcher.

We Americans are made of sterner stuff. During the Cold War, we defended the Free World. In our absence, I am convinced, everyone else would have given way…

In my view, [Barack Obama] and today’s Democratic Party represent the last gasp of the Progressive impulse. The tyrannical ambition hidden at the heart of Progressivism’s quest for what Franklin Delano Roosevelt termed “rational administration” Barack Obama has made manifest; and to all with eyes to see, the danger that we have temporized with for nearly a century is now perfectly visible… What is required in what he calls “this defining moment” is what Abraham Lincoln once called “a new birth of freedom.” The period we just entered could be our finest hour.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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