From National Review, America’s Unwritten and Unreveling Constitution by Cameron Hilditch
A belief seems to have taken hold on the right these days that the Constitution causes the liberties that it enshrines. But this is not true. As the historian David Hackett Fischer has argued, these liberties are incarnated and made real by the folkways and mores cultivated in our local communities. Failure to recognize the difference between American freedom and its propositional expression in the country’s founding documents has led many American conservatives to prioritize words and images over actions. It’s created a mental context in which people can spend their evenings watching Tucker Carlson, tweeting angrily at New York Times writers, and then think they are being good, patriotic Americans as a result. The notion that being a free American requires practically loving your neighbors so that the government doesn’t have to love them for you appears not to register in their consciousness. More’s the pity, because that is, in fact, the exhaustive definition of Tocquevillian American freedom.
What we have instead today is the inclination on both right and left to make it as easy as possible for us to live as strangers to one another. The Democratic Party appears increasingly to want the federal government, the faceless benefactor of the redistributive state, to meet all of our individual material needs. The starkest example of this Democratic impulse was Barack Obama’s infamous Life of Julia — the government as spouse, provider, babysitter, and guardian for every citizen. No need to look to your neighbor for anything.
Meanwhile, the technological capitalism championed by the Right is becoming increasingly adept at meeting all of our material needs more efficiently than any government program. The faceless benefactor of big business supplies us with everything we need. No need to look to your neighbor for anything.