Jun 302015
 
 June 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:16 am About US  Add comments
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America is the only country in the Western world where buying a handgun is cheaper, easier and requires less paperwork than purchasing affordable health insurance. It is the only country where a court that grants gay people the right to marry also defends the right of the wealthy to pour almost unlimited funds into elections. </p>
The political logic that links these facts is not a liberalism that progressives in Europe or Canada would recognize. It is a homegrown libertarian ideology — one that has opened the way for marriage equality, but privileges economic growth for the few over socio-economic equity for the many.
<p>The Supreme Court ruling, this week, < — which preserved Americans’ access to expensive, inadequate and confusing insurance policies subsidized by the Affordable Care Act — hardly signals a swift drift toward European social democracy. Obamacare is an essentially conservative law that places government resources in service of private enterprise.
The events of the past week hardly signal a swift drift toward European social democracy.
Meanwhile, the backlash against the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston shooting is a welcome blow against a symbol of hate. But calling for the removal of the flag from public property has provided cover for politicians who cannot or will not address the real problem — easy access to guns. Wal-Mart’s executives decided toConfederate paraphernalia last week. But they will continue to offer a wide selection of firearms and ammunition as long as Second Amendment fundamentalists block federal gun control.
When the Founding Fathers cast off the yoke of King George, they created a revolutionary state with fear of “big government” built into its institutions and engrained in its culture. For better or worse, the leaders of that revolutionary state came to have the narrowest political imagination in the West. America is the only nation among its peers with no equivalent to a Tory right or a socialist left — both traditions that consider centralized government a force for good, an agent of stewardship and progress.
A cultural chasm still divides the United States from the other liberal democracies of the West because suspicion of federal authority is embedded in America’s DNA. The advance of gay rights last week signals that secular libertarianism is on the ascent while its Christian cousin is in retreat. But conservatives, fear not: The social democratic Satan, the great Scandinavianization, is a long way off.

Article by Molly Worthen