Francis Fukuyama enters a piece into a series that the FT has been running on how the right in America must change. His thesis is that the right has seemingly come to believe that government is useless. It’s an attitude that I hear more and more and best encapsulated in the phrase: “The private sector could do any service better and cheaper.”
The phrase is absurd on its face to anyone who understands economics and externalities, but what portion of the population is that? A shrinking one among self-proclaimed conservatives these days and it’s vital that they understand that society must have a government, and if it must have a government then one should focus one’s energy on ensuring that it’s the best one possible and one that fulfills its role.
Here is a useful summary:
Distrust of state authority has of course been a key component of American exceptionalism, both on the right and the left. The contemporary right has taken this, however, to an absurd extreme, seeking to turn the clock back not just to the point before the New Deal, but before the progressive era at the turn of the 20th century. The Republican party has lost sight of the difference between limited government and weak government, reflected in its agenda of cutting money for enforcement capacity of regulators and the IRS, its aversion to taxes of any sort and its failure to see that threats to liberty can come from powerful actors besides the state.