Self-reliance …

… doesn’t seem to be one of the “family values” John McCain wants to uphold.

… is one of the great American values. As reader Bryan Erickson notes, only one of this year’s Presidential candidates believes in it:

I think it’s highly revealing that with the tire gauges, Mr. Obama was pointing out that he envisions a government that does not try to do everything for you, that has a proper role that complements what the self-reliant American people are able to do for themselves to solve the urgent problems they face.

On the other hand, McCain mocked the idea of individual Americans taking what steps they could on their own to address pressing problems, and instead made clear that his and the GOP’s vision of government now is one of an all-encompassing nanny state, where we all sit around and wait only for whatever steps the government takes to address urgent problems facing our society.

I wish this narrative would get a lot of print as the lesson learned from this episode: Vote for the party of self-reliance and individual responsibility; vote Democratic.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: