Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Terms of the Debate Have Shifted

Finally, the political debate in an election season revolves not around the question, "who should pay more taxes," but around the question, "why should anyone pay more taxes?" In other words, the very presupposition of the inherent goodness of government action is being questioned. This seems to me to be unprecedented. That it happened only a few weeks before the election, and was precipitated by a mere citizen ("Joe the Plumber") makes it even more extraordinary. The question now is, can it be kept at the forefront of average citizens' minds? Will it make them realize that the government is not the be-all-and-end-all of problem-solving? That the game of salvation by government is a dead end? If it does, the debate which has now hit the mainstream will carry on far beyond this election season. It could signal the turning of a tide.

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