George F. Will has a lot of interesting things to day about the domestic portion of Bushs Second Inaugural, with which I appear to be obsessed. Heres the conclusion:
It cannot be said of Bush, as was famously said of Martin Van Buren, that he rows toward his goal "with muffled oars." Bush has said "I dont do nuance," and his "ownership society" agenda -- from Social Security personal accounts to health savings accounts to tax cuts -- is explicitly explained as soulcraft. Its purpose is to combat the learned incompetence of persons who become comfortable with excessive dependence on and supervision by government. His agendas aim is to continue, in the language of his inaugural address, "preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society."
That is the crux of modern conservatism -- government taking strong measures to foster in the citizenry the attitudes and aptitudes necessary for increased individual independence. That is what the Homestead Act did, out in what no longer is the Great American Desert.
Read it all.