The story Republicans are telling each other about limited government is an oversimplified version of American history, and Brooks says it has dangerous implications. Using examples from Washington’s, Lincoln’s, and Roosevelt’s presidencies, Brooks says the American story is also one of limited but energetic governments that used federal power as a tool to promote growth and social mobility in the nation. He notes that if Republicans today regard “every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom,” it will be a political, fiscal, policy, and intellectual tragedy. We must focus not just on what is happening today, but also on what could happen the day after tomorrow and problems facing the nation that cannot be addressed by merely making government smaller.
Brooks is a New York Times columnist.