New piece up at AlterNet

by J.A. Myerson

The problem facing the right wing is that it is difficult to cherry-pick which features of modernity to do away with and which to retain. After all, a government incapable of protecting its citizenry from harmful toxins and poisons (that is, one without an EPA and an FDA) is precisely the type of government that is incapable of breaking the Ku Klux Klan’s stranglehold on the legal, social, economic and political affairs of the South. A government so limited that it cannot provide disaster relief (as it could not without FEMA), is precisely the type of government so limited that it cannot protect 10 year olds from the horrors of the unregulated meatpacking industry. Perhaps conservatives find it lamentable, but the expansive view of the commerce clause that came into fashion during the Great Depression (and the progressive view of government of which it is emblematic) has been the precondition for much of the freedom from horrific exploitation and terrifying danger Americans enjoy today. By dogmatically clinging to the supposition that the only type of freedom that matters is freedom from the government (since that’s who has the guns), conservatives deprive themselves of a suitably fulsome regard for freedom. They ignore the horrors to which 1900 subjected America without the government protections that have arisen in the intervening 111 years.

Read the rest here.