Dana Milbank’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post titled The Weakest Generation? is a telling, though myopic, view of Generation X. As a good nationalist and proponent of state action, Milbank thinks that sacrifice to a state led cause—war or social justice through unconstitutional expansion of central power—defines the mettle of a people. “When we were prepared to sacrifice for the country after the 9/11 attacks,” he writes, “President George W. Bush told us to go shopping….The effects on our politics has been profound.
Without any concept of actual combat or crisis, a new crop of leaders — Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin — treats governing as a fight to the death, with no possibility of a negotiated peace. Without a transcendent social struggle calling us to seek justice as Americans, they substitute factional causes — Repeal Obamacare! Taxed Enough Already! — or manufactured crises over debt limits and government shutdowns.” It appears that Milbank firmly believes that those who wish to avoid bankruptcy and press liberty (neocons like Ryan excluded) are somehow un-American. Only “combat and crisis” can forge good, honest calls for an expansion of government power. He is right about that. Nationalists on both the Left and Right never miss a chance to expand central authority.
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