Bret clarifies the Joyce Rogers Brown comments:
I would have said it as follows:
where government moves in, people lose the ability to even imagine possible alternatives to solve problems without involving government, community retreats, civil society disintegrates,...
Then follows up with this:
Nonetheless, the disturbing thing to me, is that for all these things, non-government solutions aren't even imagined to be possible, much less contemplated, articulated, debated, refined, and proposed as alternatives. We are destroying our creativity and ingenuity "and our ability to control our destiny" by turning these problems over to the government. This is what I believe that Brown meant by her statement and I agree with that interpretation of it.
Yes, statism is a disease that has many ill effects. If we change course can civil society recover?
Many policies have subtle effects which might compound into huge effects over time. Think about the issue of school choice and vouchers. Beyond any possible improvement in education which a child might receive they would be witness to an interesting set of behaviors by the parent. Not all parents would handle their new responsiblity well, but many would. They would feel positive, hopeful and empowered to make changes if their childs' educational situation was unacceptable. They would learn to ferret out information, make decisions and change that decision if the results of the initial decision were not acceptable. This could have a profoundly positive effect on a child witnessing these behaviors. This positive effect could grow over several generations.
Another area where subtle positives could accrue would be with a flat tax. A sense of fairness and cohesion amongst the electorate could be a powerful force binding people together. Also, political signals for higher taxes and more spending or lower taxes and lower spending would be communicated much more effectively. And on it would go...