The “new normal” is really just a return to the “old normal” in politics. Government by mandate, proclamation, edict, fiat, diktat, or order has been the norm throughout human history. It is effective and efficient, it gets the job done, it’s clean and quick, and it involves minimal discomfort or responsibility for citizens—or, rather, subjects. Domination and coercion by the elite, the wealthy, and the powerful has been the lot of most human beings around the world for almost all of human history. It’s just dressed in a lab coat or suit and tie instead of a king’s robe or a military uniform.From the long view, political freedom has been an unusual experiment in the history of humanity. The Founders knew this, calling the American experiment in self-government a “novus ordo seclorum”—a new order for the ages. Abraham Lincoln knew this, expressing the precarity of freedom clearly in the closing words of his Gettysburg Address. Freedom is never a normal, inertial state for human societies. It needs to be fostered, continually developed, and incessantly fought for in the face of perennial enemies. It is never comfortable and it is never easy.We in the U.S. have grown tired of political freedom, and we seem on the brink of capitulating once and for all. Safety and orthodoxy are just so much more stable and satisfying than the hard ground of self-reliance, independent thought, and individual responsibility. We should, though, think of our children and future generations. And we should also think of the millions around the world who still look to the U.S. as a star of hope in the long night of tyranny that has defined most of human history.