I wish I could put more positive posts up here, but I just heard a story on NPR about the budget and the defect, etc. What a sick bunch of people are running this place, tripping over each other to prove how nasty and heartless they can be to the poor. The democrats, including Obama are almost the worst, because nobody is making a case for why "social programs" exist and why the republicans are so bloodthirsty to get rid of them. Actually, I don't hear anybody talking about this.
I'll make an attempt. The libertarian view that has kind of taken over our public discourse is that people should fend for themselves and that when they get help from the government, they lose their will and their creativity. There is a feeling that anyone can just "go out and get" a living somewhere. This may have been true earlier in our country's history in the days of homesteading, when there were abundant free natural resources. ONce you have an industrial society, you have to run things differently. Most of us can't grow our own food, cloth, and forage for building materials and fuel. We're way past that now. We already cooperate and specialize whether we like it or not. And industrial societies make extended family networks unviable. People have to move around to work among other things. So a government that facilitates a safety net is essential in an industrial or post-industrial society.
Moreover, libertarianism only accounts for the able-bodied adults. It doesn't make any sense for anyone else, for children and adults that are disabled or victimized.
Nobody is talking about making cuts in the bloated military, which, by some accounts spends as much as the entire militaries of the rest of the world combined. This is a result of the persistent jingoism and fear-mongering that we experienced in the Bush years. It just feels like collective insanity.
Nobody is even talking about the fact that Clinton balanced the budget, an accomplishment that was viewed as impossible. Bush created the deficit by means of tax cuts for the filthy, obscenely rich and war. If a republican were in the white house, all you'd hear about was how the previous administration messed everything up.
Maybe what it all comes down to is that democrats spend so much time trying to convince republicans that they are not too liberal instead of trying to convince everybody of the tenets of liberalism, or even just basic civic decency.