Toward Liberty: The Idea That Is Changing the World: 25 Years of Public Policy from the Cato Institute

Toward Liberty: The Idea That Is Changing the World: 25 Years of Public Policy from the Cato Institute

Toward Liberty: The Idea That Is Changing the World: 25 Years of Public Policy from the Cato Institute

Toward Liberty: The Idea That Is Changing the World: 25 Years of Public Policy from the Cato Institute

Excerpt

Jimmy Carter. Tip O'Neill. Energy czars. Gas lines. Raging inflation. ABC-NBC-CBS. Mao Tse-tung. The Soviet Union. Apartheid.

It was a different era.

What wasn't so obvious at the time was that it was the end of an era.

In 1977 the Soviet Union seemed a permanent fixture. So did communism in China. Here at home, the Democrats had retaken the White House after Nixon's usurpation. The permanent majority was back in control in Washington. Ninety-one percent of television viewers watched the big three networks. Despite the turmoil of the 1960s and early 1970s, baby boomers thought that communist domination of half the world and Democratic control of Washington were just the natural order of the universe.

In the 1970s Henry Kissinger was quoted as saying that he thought of the United States as Athens and the Soviet Union as Sparta. “The day of the U.S. is past and today is the day of the Soviet Union. My job as secretary of state is to negotiate the most acceptable secondbest position available.” Kissinger denied saying that, but another leading intellectual-statesman, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, stated a similar view openly in 1976, at the time of the American bicentennial: “Liberal democracy on the American model increasingly tends to the condition of monarchy in the 19th century; a holdover form of government, one which persists in isolated or particular places here and there, and may even serve well enough for special circumstances, but which has simply no relevance to the future. It is where the world was, not where it is going. Increasingly democracy

David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer.

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