'Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare:' A Prescription that Progressives Should Fill

The state has consistently been displaced by individual initiative and market mechanisms in personal and collective memory and, more often than not, scholarly interpretations as well. Progressives, however, would do well to embrace rather than deride this pattern. More importantly, they should design legislation that capitalizes upon the long-standing preference of Americans for government that is hidden in plain sight. This article explores that history. It identifies the ways in which Americans learned to govern less visibly during the nineteenth century and the ways in which these patterns were reinforced during the twentieth. In the process, it also addresses the prevailing assumption that Americans did not govern at all for much of their history. Indeed, it is that mythical “stateless” past that those who have already secured their state-subsidized benefits deployed in order to deny prospective public support to others.