I recently attended a conference with a lot of fellow free marketers. One of the speakers was a former appointee in the administration of George W. Bush. During the subsequent Q&A, it became apparent that many in the crowd were not happy with the growth of government during Bush’s eight years in office.

I must confess to being one who wasn’t particularly happy with President Bush’s big government conservatism. Heck, I still sometimes grumble about his father’s presidency. But as I listened to the crowd the other day, it reminded me far too much of Barack Obama and his constant blaming of Bush for all the world’s evils.

Those of us who believe in liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise have a choice to make. We can either dwell in the past or look to the future. If we spend all out time grumbling about the Bush years, we’ll never have the energy and insight to advance the free market cause. Even daydreaming about the next Ronald Reagan won’t help. Yes, we must learn from past successes and failures, but we can’t let the past get in the way of the future. We can’t let it get in the way of liberty.

The stakes are too high. As our board member Jeff Sandefer said at the same event, “the opposite of ‘liberty’ is not ‘financial insecurity’ but “slavery.'” We must be “committed to finding a calling, to finding a specific wrong we will right, to seeking a cause that will roll back the power of government and set an example for others to follow.” There is no room in this future for grumbling about the past.

– Bill Peacock