It is not the act of being ideological that disturbs the left, it is the ideology. Faith in an idea or principle makes you ideological; faith in their own ideas and principles makes them pragmatic. Pragmatism with a capital ‘P’ became an ideology in the early days of Progressivism. Pragmatism may be the most dysfunctional ideology on the political scene.
John Maynard Keynes famously noted, “in the long run we are all dead.” That may be the ultimate statement of progressive ideology. Keynes may be dead, but those of us still on this side of the dirt are paying the price for their pragmatism.
from Daniel Henninger at the WSJ, Government Hits the Wall
Brexit is shorthand for “government is the problem.”
Liberal intellectuals have mocked Reagan for reducing his theory of government to a bumper sticker. But he elaborated on the idea with words that would have fit in the Founders’ debates:
“We have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”
A good and just society comes through an economic and social compact between citizens and their government. If citizens will transmit sufficient tax revenue to the government, it will hire experts in public administration (to Reagan an “elite group”) who will deliver socially desirable benefits to everyone, and will do so with equity. It is an appealing promise.
People who believe this, and some still do sincerely, regarded Reagan’s inaugural formulation as the words of an antigovernment “ideologue.” Still, ideology matters, and they have their own founding ideologue, Woodrow Wilson.
In his 1889 book called “The State,” the future progressive Democratic president of the U.S. wrote: “Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand.” Across the 20th century, that broad claim summarized the justification for building the administrative state, here and in Europe.
That sound you heard in the United Kingdom last week was the administrative state finally hitting the wall.