You don’t need me to tell you what America is gaining today. It’s not easy to escape the sense that we’re gaining something that would make George Washington feel very uncomfortable: a constitutional monarch.
It’s just as important to understand what we’re losing.
With lightning speed and essentially without discussion, we’ve lost one of America’s oldest ideas: a robust confidence that a civic-minded people, when left to pursue happiness according to their own lights, will produce an ordered society, free of tyrannies of every kind.
The very idea of freedom is now under suspicion. For at least a generation, it will be assumed that freedom, especially in the economic sphere, produces adverse results and must be tempered with aggressive regulation. That’s going to be the basic intellectual milieu in which American public policy will be debated and made.
I freely admit that a disciplined commitment to the idea of freedom has waxed and waned at different times in our history. It’s now going into eclipse. I’ll be among those to welcome it back, on a cold day in a January yet to come.