OPINION COLUMN by Douglas Carswell:
I’m Douglas Carswell, and this week I join the Mississippi Center for Public Policy as the new President & CEO.
After twelve years as a Member of the British Parliament, and co-founder of Vote Leave, the official campaign that won the Brexit referendum, I am so thrilled to be here in Mississippi, helping make the case for freedom.
Why have I made this move?
I believe in American exceptionalism. Americans flourish when they are free. The U.S. is the greatest republic the world has ever known because she is the most successful experiment in freedom that there has ever been.
It is because I was not born American that I appreciate what sets this great country apart. America has been sustained by a set of ideals enshrined in the Constitution: liberty, respect for private property, the rule of law, and equality before the law. These are precisely the Constitutional ideals of liberty that the Mississippi Center for Public Policy has spent the past 30 years advancing. To be sure, these ideals have at times been imperfectly applied. But that is no reason to reject these ideals. It is a reason to strive to apply them all the more.
Three hundred and ninety years ago, John Winthrop spoke of America as being like a ‘city on a hill.’ That was Winthrop’s way of saying that those outside the new American settlements might one day be able to peer in and see a shining example to the world.
America today is still that ‘city on a hill.’ This country sets for the whole world a standard – not just a standard of living – but a standard of how life itself might yet be lived.
Having lived outside the United States, I know that American exceptionalism is a great force for good around the world. But you know what most amazes me about American exceptionalism? The fact that so many of America’s so-called ‘elite’ can’t see it. They insist that the United States’ story is all about exploitation rather than the ever better application of liberty. Too many young Americans are taught to despise the inspiring story of their own country.
“Freedom,” said Ronald Reagan, “is never more than one generation away from extinction.” He was right.
The ideas of liberty – which are the essence of American exceptionalism – need defending, or – as the 40th President went on to say – “one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Freedom today is under attack like never before. Across America a radical New Left is advancing. They not only deny American exceptionalism; if they get their way, they would destroy the liberties that set America apart in the first place.
If liberty is extinguished, the United States would become just another over-regulated, over-taxed, debt-ridden country, presided over by remote officials. That would be a catastrophe for the whole world.
The battle to defend freedom, which many had assumed was won a generation ago when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, needs to be fought and won again.
The best way to win the fight for freedom again is to take the initiative here in states like Mississippi, not to look to what is happening in Washington D.C.
The great genius of the American system that the Founding Fathers created is that it is decentralized, with different states free to trial various policy approaches. Good ideas come from where ordinary Americans are, not inside the Washington ‘beltway’ where politicians happen to congregate.
By advancing the ideas of liberty and sound policy at the state level, led in our state by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, we can win this fight.
That is why I am so excited about helping make the case for less government and more freedom, economic or otherwise, here in Mississippi. There’s no part of America my wife Clementine and I would rather make our home than right here in the Magnolia state.