A recent interview reminds us of Herbert Crowly's now classic definition of American Liberalism from 1909:
“The use of Hamiltonian means to achieve Jeffersonian ends.”
As Franklin Foer notes,
From the foundation of this country, there was a great debate between Hamiltonians, who had a vision of a strong state, and Jeffersonians, who advocated a yeoman’s republic with limited government. The genius of that aphorism is that it synthesises what liberals believe.
We believe in individual freedom – we just believe that you need a strong state to realise that vision. It captures the notion that we need a robust government to protect liberty. We need a strong state to preserve freedom
It seems to me that the converse is also true: That the modern American Right -– from Howard Jarvis and William Simon to Norquist and Dick Armey; from Olin and Scaife to the Koch's, from the Birchers and Ayn Rand to the Tea Party – can be summarized as "Jeffersonian means to achieve Hamiltonian ends.
The conservative call for weak government and a harkening to agrarian populist roots... anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-communitarianism... all in order to achieve plutocracy and corporatocracy.
And of course we can see the results here:
and here and here.
And of course too many Democrats, "led" by President Obama, are unwilling to fight the narrative.