Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marco Rubio: Neo-Malthusian

In his speech last week at the Reagan Library, Senator Rubio said:

"These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job."

Sen. Rubio's vision of America's self-reliant past is a common conservative meme that purports to show that our society was more vibrant and caring before the age of big government programs. What Rubio fails to recognize, as do many other conservatives, is that the big government programs like the Work Progress Administration and Social Security rescued the American dream for millions of its citizens. Programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority that brought electricity to thousands of family farms not only raised agricultural efficiency but incomes and life-expectancy as well. Rubio's vision of the self-reliant nuclear family caring for its ill is as farcical as the Puritan security reflected by Kinkade's kitschy little cottages.

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.
G. K. Chesterson


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