by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One line in particular grabbed me by the throat.
It comes from [Marco] Rubio himself, who denounced — get ready — “the radical you’re-on-your-own individualism promoted by our government and by our society in the last 30 years.”
Um . . . has our government, and our society, promoted such an individualism over the last 30 years? Not the government or society I have watched.
But it was the words “you’re on your own” that really grabbed me. That’s what Barack Obama used to say. When he was deriding, and caricaturing, conservative philosophy, he’d say, “You’re on your own!” That was what we conservatives were telling people, according to the Obama caricature.
I blasted him for this many times. And now to hear the same words out of the mouth of Marco Rubio? There could not be a clearer sign of the times. …
… In the past, conservatives emphasized limited government, civil society, and personal responsibility. We were not for dog-eat-dog individualism; we were not Social Darwinists (many conservatives weren’t Darwinists of any kind, and still aren’t!); we wanted solutions for people, whether those solutions were governmental or not.
When I was in college, some kids chanted, “Reagan, Bush, you can’t hide, we charge you with gen-o-cide!” What did they mean? They meant that the Reagan administration was trying to slow the rate of increase of social spending. They were not trying to decrease social spending — that was a pipe dream. They were trying to slow the rate of increase. And, for that: “gen-o-cide.”