Writing for The New York Times, Ross Douthat’s mention of “liberal communitarians” sounds a little odd to my ears, but he is dead on in his analysis of the current situation in the US: Government and its Rivals. An excerpt:
Liberals know that it takes a village; conservatives pretend that all it takes is John Wayne.
In this worldview, the government is just the natural expression of our national community, and the place where we all join hands to pursue the common good. Or to borrow a line attributed to Representative Barney Frank, “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.”
Many conservatives would go this far with Frank: Government is one way we choose to work together, and there are certain things we need to do collectively that only government can do.
But there are trade-offs as well, which liberal communitarians [sic] don’t always like to acknowledge. When government expands, it’s often at the expense of alternative expressions of community, alternative groups that seek to serve the common good.