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HomeIllinois NewsBiga: “L’Etat Pour Nous” - The State for Us

Biga: “L’Etat Pour Nous” – The State for Us




By Frank J Biga III –

"L'Etat Pour Nous" – The State for Us. My French isn’t that good. But even though the translation app may not be exactly right, the meaning is clear. We conservatives must take control of the State and once again use it for conservative ends.

Indeed, and ironically, that is the model that conservatives must embrace in the decades to come if they expect to actually roll back the progressive monolith. They have to both be persistent and play the long game as the progressives have done so successfully for a century as well as change tactics when necessary and use the State as a mechanism to achieve conservative ends. This may not appeal to the Randian idealism of many in the current conservative movement, but it is absolutely necessary to save the United States and Western Civilization.

Liberals have used the State for progressive ends in the past. The Obama administration’s recent decree to school districts on transgender bathroom rules advances the cultural Marxist agenda of destroying traditional America. The bipartisan internationalist cabal that now occupies our capital city has used the structural mechanisms of the State to practically give away our country and our birthright. So it’s high time that conservatives shed the idealism and get more serious about advancing our values when we control the apparatus of the State. It’s been done in the past.

Consider the policies enacted by the Republican Congress and President Lincoln in the wake of the Southern secession. The Morrill Tariff raised rates to levels more in line with a policy that would protect American industry and workers from foreign competition. Is it any wonder that American industry came to lead all countries in many production categories by the turn of the century?

Senator Justin Morrill did not just confine himself to tariffs though. He was responsible for the Morrill College Land Grant Act of 1862. As a poor boy from Vermont, he remembered how the lack of a more formal education affected his prospects. So this act set aside federal money and lands to be granted to the States to establish mainly agricultural colleges. The purpose was to further educate American citizens for the benefit of America.

The same Republican Congress also passed the Homestead Act and the Transcontinental Railroad Act in 1862.   Keep in mind at the time that Lincoln and his party were mainly against slavery because they wanted to protect the Western lands for settlement and development by poor and middle class white men. Recall that Lincoln, as a Congressman and Senatorial candidate, was a proponent of containment of slavery to existing areas, eventual emancipation of some kind, and then re-colonization of freedmen to Africa. These projects went back all the way to the Monroe Presidency. So, Lincoln was using the State to confer benefits on his fellow countrymen, as he defined them.

Nonetheless, all of the aforementioned policies worked to help build our families and our nation. Ever watch Little House on the Prairie? All of the stories of the God-fearing Ingalls family and their struggles out West hammering out a life made possible by these policies are heart-warming and uplifting. I don’t know of such an inspiring show today despite the cornucopia of on-demand choices.

And yes, we also accepted immigrants at the time and were able to assimilate them in to the fabric of our nation partly because of their Judeo-Christian religious and cultural backgrounds but also because of the expanding domestic economy aided and abetted by the protectionist tariffs. Having a nice huge frontier to give economic opportunity to many of them also helped.

But this era, like everything temporal, ended. Wealth and power got too concentrated and it went to some peoples’ heads and after World War I monetary policy was a major driver of the boom of the 1920s. When Depression struck, our country was at a crossroads. Would the deflationary forces overwhelm America’s middle class? Or would the State step in and help the middle class?

It is interesting that this same philosophy of using the State to advance the interests of the majority of Americans was extended by the Democratic Party during the time of the New Deal. albeit with different tools. The Republican Party had run out of gas and was intellectually flaccid by the 1930s.   But the new policies that fostered conservative family values included increased government spending, higher tax rates on the wealthy, and support for unions.

Clearly these ideas are not what many today consider conservative in their means, but they clearly led to conservative ends. For those who disagree, please describe how the late 1940s thorough the 1960s were bad times for the American family? At that time, many large families could be supported on one income which allowed the other parent to stay home and raise respectable and morally upright children. Is it any wonder that so many of the Greatest Generation venerated FDR so much?

And how were these policies bad for America in general? We had large corporations that were the envy of the world, we had trade surpluses, and we built out the infrastructure of our nation including the Interstate Highway System. We had enough wealth still to fund a massive space exploration program and put a man on the moon. Is it any wonder that Donald Trump is talking about finding ways to spend more money here on our crumbling bridges, roads, and airports? Maybe it’s because he grew up in this era and saw that it worked.

Now, I am not advocating any of the above policies per se or on their own. Economic conditions change and policies need to change with it. It’s one of the reasons President Reagan’s reduction of income taxes reinvigorated the economy in the 1980s. But Reagan was only a laissez-faire purist rhetorically. He also spent government money to boost the economy – much of it on the military. He also utilized protectionist measures when appropriate including a measure that helped Harley-Davidson stay in business. Reagan used the State for US.

It shouldn’t be that novel on an idea – the idea that our government looks out for Americans first. It’s long past time that this approach become the norm again, or I fear we won’t have a country left to sing an anthem to.

Our last best hope is awaiting our support on November 8.


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