So today it may be said that no popular movement has successfully, substantially reduced the size and scope of government power in America. There have been blips. Speed limits went up! We ended welfare as we know it! And today more Americans than ever adopt servile assumptions toward their relationship with government, and the institutions necessary to serve such a people weave inextricably into the fabric of everyday life. …
Unless something big changes, we will continue to scramble. Confronted with the rule of fear in our private and public lives, our pop psychology gave up on Freud’s quest to allay our terrors in favor of the quicker fix—gratifying our impulses. Today, as a society no less than as individuals, we are locked into the pattern of chasing what our fears tell us to chase, and fleeing what our fears tell us to flee.
This, not any one secret bureaucracy or dysfunctional branch of government, is the root of all threats to liberty. This is the source of lives lived out in radical unfreedom. In 2014, the central battleground in the fight for freedom will be right where John Lennon identified it almost fifty years ago. You tell me it’s the institution? You better free your mind instead.
Policymakers may hack away at the regulatory state. Leakers and whistleblowers may lay its abuses bare. But only artists can now turn the public imagination toward the possibility that our dreams of true freedom can become real.