An Empire Needs a Good Crisis
Franklin Roosevelt’s plan for Social Security was a massive rethinking of the state, in the sense that the new system was much more than a simple safety net. It bound ordinary citizens to the federal government in a way that had not been imagined by the Founding Fathers. People came to rely on the state for their daily bread, and to take a much keener interest in the state itself. Traditional virtues — thrift, independence, self-reliance — were replaced with new virtues: political activism and gaming the system.