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Restoring Self-Government

Individual self-government, made possible by traditional American institutions like family and church, has always been fundamental to America. Liberties like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and private property are essential components for self-government. However, self-government does not mean isolated government. Institutions like state governments, families, and churches provide order and instill Americans with self-discipline that makes ordered liberty possible. Without these institutions, liberty would corrode into licentiousness, liberty without constraints. Something that many of the Founding Fathers feared.

Recently, as conservatives like Yoram Hazony have pointed out, liberalism has torn down traditional institutions. In the name of reason, equality, and liberty, liberals have attacked institutions like family and purged religion and patriotism from schools. This assault has threatened self-government. For example, liberal policies like no-fault divorce have resulted in a tragic increase in divorce rates and broken families. Weak drug policies have trapped whole communities in drug addiction. Removing American nationalism and Christian ethics from the classroom has produced a younger generation who love America less than their grandparent's generation does. Thanks to these sorts of liberal policies, families are broken, tens of millions are on welfare, mental illness and suicides are increasing, and young Americans are tearing down statues of their Founding Fathers. Self-government is fading into chaos, and big government is filling in the gaps. Conservatives, not libertarians or reactionaries, offer the best route to reviving traditional institutions and restoring self-government.

Liberalism has not brought liberty. Instead, it has perverted liberty into licentiousness by destroying the institutions that provided liberty’s prudential restraints. John Adams identified that institutions like religion were necessary for America's constitutional society. As liberals tore down traditional institutions, self-government shrunk, and progressives ensured that government grew. George Washington warned against this in a 1783