Abraham Lincoln had a little something to say on how expanding government suffocates individual freedom: "The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all in their separate and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere."
There may never have been a better case made for the federal government's limited role and the limitless role and responsibility of the individual citizen.
These separate yet complimentary functions of state and citizen should be at the center of the 2012 campaign. It will be a difficult debate because of the number of people liberals have managed to addict to government, but it is a debate we must have. Its proper resolution will determine whether America can continue to prosper and protect and defend liberty without which the America we have known will be a subject for future historians, as they study the reasons for our decline.
We don't live in the past, but we can learn from it. Will we? Coolidge did. The presidential and congressional candidates should make a pilgrimage to this tiny hamlet to see what their education left out, or they have forgotten.
The principles by which Calvin Coolidge lived and governed are as relevant for our time as they were for his.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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