George Will

The government used TARP funds not for their stipulated purpose of buying the "toxic assets" of banks, but to pull auto companies and other economic entities into the spreading web of dependency. Servile -- because dependent -- banks were pliable during the farce of Chrysler's bankruptcy, but secured creditors resisted when settled law was disregarded. Nevertheless, those creditors received less per dollar than did an unsecured creditor, the United Auto Workers, which relishes dependency on government as an alternative to economic realism.

Democrats' "reforms" of the financial sector may aim to reduce financial institutions to dependent appendages of the government. By reducing banks to public utilities, credit, which is the lifeblood of capitalism, could be priced and allocated by government.

Many Democrats are untroubled by governments' rampant abuses of eminent-domain powers. Wealthy interests embrace dependency on collaborative governments that seize property from less wealthy people and transfer it to those wealthy interests who will pay more taxes to those governments.

Many Democrats, opposing the Supreme Court, advocate new campaign finance "reforms" that will further empower government to regulate the quantity, timing and content of speech about government. Otherwise voters will hear more such speech than government considers good for them. Such paternalism is American progressivism's oldest tradition.

A century ago, Herbert Croly published "The Promise of American Life," a book -- still in print -- that was prophetic about today's progressives. Contemplating with distaste America's "unregenerate citizens," he said "the average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to a serious and consistent conception of his responsibilities." Therefore, Croly said, national life should be a "school" taught by the government: "The exigencies of such schooling frequently demand severe coercive measures, but what schooling does not?" Unregenerate Americans would be "saved many costly perversions" if "the official schoolmasters are wise, and the pupils neither truant nor insubordinate."

Subordination is dependency seen from above. Today, it is seen approvingly by progressives imposing, from above, their dependency agenda.

There is no school choice here; no voucher will enable Americans to escape from enveloping dependency on this "government as school." The dependency agenda is progressive education for children of all ages, meaning all ages treated as children.


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read George Will's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.