America is in danger of dying of stupidity. Never mind that the road to oblivion is well marked with expanding bureaucracies, profligate spending, high taxes, and minuscule economic growth. This president urges us to embark and pay no attention to the fiscal and human disasters of those who traveled this way before.
We are told that a perfect society is within our reach, all problems, social and economic, can be mastered, but the key to that door is social/economic justice. Not equality under the law, but the newer variety: “Giving to each what he or she is due,”* (warmed over Karl Marx). Government, of course, decides who gets what.
An article in the 7/30/12 issue of National Review, “Russia’s Choice,” by David Satter, describes what happens when that system fails and despotism ensues. He reports that Russian businessmen who donate money to opponents of the despot are targeted for tax audits and government investigations. Property is seized with the help of law enforcement. Time and money are spent to circumvent capricious regulations and selectively enforced laws. Businesses contract and unemployment expands. When political corruption and uncertainty become intolerable “massive capital flight” follows. This year, as Russian businessmen move their families out of the country, it is estimated to reach at least $70 billion.
All of which is informative and provides a glimpse of an alternative future. It is Satter’s concluding paragraphs that require our attention.
But corruption is only a symptom of a deeper ill, which is disregard for the moral worth of the individual. It was this notion of the individual as raw material for achievement of political ends that made possible the triumph of a Soviet regime that was ready to create ‘heaven on earth’ at the cost of millions of lives.
Satter elaborates on the challenges before the Russian people, concluding that “to take advantage of post-Soviet Russia’s second chance at democracy, they will have to focus on the value of the individual and let truth be their guide.”
Americans don’t need to “design a new polity” in James Ceaser’s words. We need only reclaim our birthright, and reject Hillary Clinton’s view that, “it takes a village,” and Barack Obama’s assertion that individual enterprise is deficient without government involvement and oversight.
These falsehoods are accompanied by claims of moral superiority which are in turn accompanied by demands to think only pure thoughts, (the ones that government determines politically correct); to eat only what the government certifies as sufficiently nutritional, and to allow our young to be educated to do the state’s bidding.
As Kenneth Minogue wrote in The Servile Mind:
The more governments take power over the workings of society, the more capricious their actions must become. Parsimony in law-making restricts regulation to things thought indispensible to society, but the more government interferes in social life, the more complicated will be the details of regulation and the more capricious official judgments will become. And caprice, as we know from despotic states, is itself a factor of the spread of corruption.
The Gospel, according to our president, is that government is the source both of virtue and benefits, (“you didn’t build that business”). Itself a lie, for government has nothing to give except what has first been taken from someone else.
The Founders understood that government is power, and power unrestrained is despotism. What is it called when the president breaches the constitutional separation of powers to unilaterally rewrite welfare reform law? What is it called when the president imposes his own standards for selective enforcement of immigration law? What is it called when the president provides waivers to an education law (NCLB) that has no provision for those waivers?
The Founders staked “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” on the supposition that free men and women are capable of self-government.
What a terrible betrayal if we are the ones to prove them wrong.