By John Ruberry
“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing, 1964.
While the Republicans lost the 1964 presidential election, resoundingly, sixteen years later Reagan turned the tables on big government Democrats.
Today President Obama is at best blurring the lines between the federal government and the fifty states. Healthcare is being fundamentally transformed by ObamaCare. The curriculum at public schools–remember, local schools are usually the most local of government bodies–is being altered by Common Core initiatives. Even what students eat at those schools is being dictated by the Obama administration.
Government in the United States is becoming more and more top-down, being run, in Reagan’s words, by a “little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol.”
Just like Europe. And oh do the liberals yearn for a government more like a European country.
But increasingly, Europeans are turning away from top-down government. Last week Scottish voters nearly voted for secession from the United Kingdom. Promises of more local control for Scots by London politicians may have swayed the outcome.
There are movements all over the European Union that are demanding independence or more local control, including those in the Basque region, Catalonia, Corsica, South Tyrol, Wales, Brittany, and the Faeroe Islands. Belgium could split in two.
Two days ago Anne Appelbaum in the Washington Post took a look at how people across Europe view of their top-down governments.
The ideals of European unity that inspired a previous generation don’t move younger people who have no memory of what came before. At the same time, it is increasingly and notably strange that the wealthiest group of nations on Earth cannot create a policy to cope with the chaos rising on its southern and eastern borders — chaos that is, of course, the source of massive new immigration as well as economic instability. Instead, distant European Union institutions appear to fill their time making petty regulations. No wonder voters want to bring the decision-making “home.”
True, some of these local European movements are hyper-nationalist and yes, even racist. But like Reagan decades ago, Europeans are disdaining the so-called wisdom of those experts who live far away and claim only they know what’s best for them.
As for Obama, he’s on the wrong side of history.
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.
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