Reno is just one soldier in a larger rearguard assault from segments of the Right, who denounced phrases like “economic patriotism” when it passed Barack Obama’s lips but nod and cheer when similar phrases come out of the mouths of “nationalists.” They see the state as the key to fostering a new social solidarity because it alone speaks for their new idol — or “strong god” — of the Nation. Passionate nationalists, like passionate socialists, ultimately believe that the State can love you, and if the right people take it over, the divisions that are inevitable in a free society will be knitted together by some government initiative. But that is not love, it is lust. It is a lust for power and victory for your vision over all others.
And it’s not new. These same claims about capitalism or (classical) liberalism being a spent force or outdated or bankrupt have accompanied every attempt — failed and successful — to expand government or yoke it to the interests of some group that claims to have found a “third way.”
Their reactionary statolatry renders them deaf and blind to an idea obvious to the Founders and once obvious to conservatives committed to conserving the liberal order: You will not always have your hands on the reins, for you will not always be in the saddle.
Even now, you can hear the growing clamor for the government to take control of Facebook or Google because the libruls there don’t like us.