Yes, we do; so do old ones. Poke any kind of Republican and you’ll usually find somebody who believes in a well-ordered, and well-governed society. Republicans venerate American institutions; we want our trains to run on time.
New Republicans understand this: If Republicans are the party of “No” and we are “anti-government,” then European-style socialism is most often left as the only option available to voters to try and produce a well-governed and ordered society.
Old-fashioned, top-down command and control government ascends in a vacuum. It may have a track record of relentless and predictable failure. In fact, it may be destined to fail even more spectacularly in today’s increasingly complex society than it has in the past. It may be a catastrophic train wreck waiting to happen but if old, archaic, big-government is the only choice voters are offered to obtain a well-governed and ordered society, then that’s the choice voters will make.
Voters will choose the only tool in the toolbox, if that is the choice that remains.
New Republicans understand being “anti-government” doesn’t just make Republicans unnecessary, it makes us dangerous. If we are anti-government, we are seen as the enemies of order, the advocates of chaos in an increasingly uncertain world.
The truth, of course, is that those of us who love freedom aren’t anti-government – liberals are!
What they believe governs nothing!
They may have given us a gigantic, growing, expensive, soul-crushingly powerful and controlling government, but what they’ve built and what they believe governs nothing.
Our schools are failing, our health care system is devouring itself along with our economy, and our retirement system is based on phony IOU’s.
Walter Russell Mead puts it well: “Where liberals in America have the freest hand—in states like New York, California and Illinois—we see incontrovertible evidence that the policies they choose don’t have the consequences they predict. California by now should surely be an educational, environmental and social utopia. New York should be a wonder of glorious liberal governance. Illinois should be known far and wide as the state that works.”
Look around, freedom lovers – the government, that the old left has built, governs nothing. They are the advocates of chaos, anarchy, and disorder.
Here is the good news:
A distant, ever-expanding, public sector is not the only way to govern ourselves.
New Republicans believe we have other, more modern tools in our toolbox to govern ourselves and solve social problems.
We believe in expanding the definition of government to include businesses, families, charities, communities, churches, and all the other mediating institutions that naturally “govern” our lives.
We believe in subsidiarity: We believe we should govern ourselves at the most human, organic, and natural level. Matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing them.
New Republicans have eternal, ever-fresh principles of freedom and new ideas.
We believe in bottom-up government, not top-down.
We believe in governing ourselves.
After all, freedom, and the bottom-up emergent structures it allows, have produced the most prosperous and well-governed society in the history of man.
That’s the USA.