The duty of conservatives

Behind its subscriber wall, the Wall Street Journal quotes Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels speaking to a conference of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale University on November 30:

Over the next few years and maybe just months, the debts we have accumulated and that this presidency has doubled will begin to assert themselves. We must hope and work to see that an easily imaginable panic and economic ruin does not result. At best, economic circumstances will remain difficult.

Even if reserve currency status and the absence of alternatives continues to protect us a while longer, the ObamaCare legislation will take effect. Its implementation will likely be a nightmare of missed deadlines, public confusion, inconsistent exceptions, and dashed expectations. Every claim made for the bill will be shown to have been false: health care costs will go up, not down; government spending and debt will go up, not down; the economy will be injured, not benefited; people by the millions will in fact lose the health insurance they have and like. Indeed, these calamities are already evident.

These failures, abetted by the natural tendency of Americans to swing the pendulum every so often, set the stage for a powerful restoration of an architecture of liberty. Freedom’s friends must be ready, not just with cerebral prescriptions for better policy, but with a moral argument that affirms the God-given dignity of each of us, that says “Yes, you can” to everyone….

In 1980, a Wyoming single mother mystified a New York Times reporter by stating that yes, absolutely she supported candidate Reagan’s proposed income tax cuts. “But, why?” the reporter spluttered. “You don’t make enough money to pay income taxes!” The woman’s reply was “One day I will.” Freedom’s friends must shape their words and actions, when the opportunity for action arrives, in ways that say emphatically “Yes, you can” and “One day you will.”

Notable and quotable, as the Journal says.

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