Insisting on having a grand national purpose is what leads to destructive and abusive policies carried out in the name of realizing that end. It is not something that people in a free country need to have, nor is it something that we should want.Life. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness. The failing of Pax Americana is that in beating back the misguided Grand National Purposes marching under various totalitarian banners, too many leaders fell in love with the Grand National Purpose of A World Safe for Democracy. Or something. And maintaining that purpose becomes costly.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE GENERAL WILL.
That doesn't stop people, whether their banner is Regulation in the Public Interest, or National Greatness, from looking for one. Whatever the motive, it does not end well. Daniel Larison owns the Trenchant Observation for Today.