Commonplace Book #73

The first breaks in the formula that joined freedom and obligation all but inseparably together [in the United States] began with Jimmy Carter.  From the start he brought to the presidency a markedly different language shaped not only be his outside-Washington experience but, still more, by his immersion in Protestant evangelical culture…The idea of the nation as a gathered congregation of faith saturated Carter’s rhetoric.  He talked easily of the “common good” and the “beloved community.”…The antigovernment line that Carter articulated–“government cannot solve our problems, it can’t set our goals, it cannot define vision,” he admonished in 1978–was premised on the assumption that the “new spirit among us all” ultimately mattered more than politics.

Daniel Rodgers, Age of Fracture, p.20