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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Corruption: The Natural State of Socialism

Liberals complain that no one has done socialism right. It’s really a great system, we’re told, but because the wrong people tried it, it just hasn’t worked yet. But, they assure us, this time it will really work. Why should we have any confidence that it will work this time? What will be different this time around? Who are these right people that will make socialism work this time? Who are these people who have reached the necessary “ethical ideal” that progressive/liberal founder Richard T. Ely believed was necessary to create a better society?

The entire presumption that socialism will work this time is based on the belief of Ely and other liberal/progressives that certain men and women have evolved ethically and morally above everyone else in society. It is this belief that liberals had achieved an “ethical ideal” above the average man that early progressives like Ely and Woodrow Wilson relied upon to justify the re-segregation of the South and to enact Jim Crow laws. Other early progressives like Margaret Sanger rationalized the morality of eugenics (manipulating the genetic pool of the population through abortion and sterilization) as a means of elevating the ethical level of society.

The foundation of the belief that socialism will work this time is based on a faulty presumption—that men and women, at least certain men and women are evolving morally and ethically. This false presumption leads to false conclusions. The truth is that there are no right people, if liberals mean people who have reached the necessary “ethical ideal” as progressive/liberal founder Richard T. Ely put it. Or, to put a more precise point on it, there are no individuals, conservative or liberal, old or young, educated or uneducated, who are more moral, or more ethical than others. All are cursed by the fall of Adam. There are no exceptions. To believe that there are exceptions is a request that we deny the reality of the world around us. The 20th century was the most bloodthirsty in the history of the world, but the corruption of man is not limited to tyrants. Highly educated people like Paul Krugman (a Nobel Prize winner in economics), who writes for the New York Times online edition regularly slanders people he disagrees with. Slander is, of course a form of bearing false witness. He has also stretched the truth (lying), and exhibited envy and jealousy (coveting). But I don’t mean to pick on Paul Krugman. I’m as guilty as he is, you are too. Which one of us truly believes that he is truly morally and ethically superior to anyone else? It is only by God’s grace and forgiveness that we are empowered to do good works. As far as believing that you are ethically better than anyone else, that’s just human pride, the same pride that comes before a fall. A person would have to be in total denial to believe that he or she is somehow ethically superior to everyone around them. Only when we understand our failings and humbly ask God for forgiveness and his grace are we in a position to do good.

The fatal flaw of socialism, as it is with big government, kings, monarchs, rulers, dictators, leaders, potentates, etc., is imperfection, or as a pastor or priest might say it, sin. Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Corrupt humans simply can’t handle power or authority. Their ego and their pride get in the way of doing good, working hard, seeking justice, and putting the interests of others before themselves. Power is seductive and not even King David could resist the temptation to use power for his own self-aggrandizement.

Liberals may be able to argue that they are, on the basis of IQ, smarter than everyone else. Maybe. But even if that is true, intelligence should not be confused with wisdom. Who do you want as President of the United States—someone who is extremely intelligent or someone who is very wise? Do you want someone who is grounded in wisdom, or someone who relies on their own intellect to make decisions that affect your life? Just because someone is more intelligent does not make that person wiser. Who is the source of wisdom? Wisdom doesn’t just exist in a vacuum, it has to have a source and that source is God, the source of all wisdom. Science progresses, but wisdom is a constant.

The Hawaiian parties of the GSA employees and the extravagant excursions of federal judges is not some sort of anomaly. Corruption is the natural state of socialism and any other concentration of government. Flawed man can corrupt any sphere of society—business, church, or government, but of the three, government is inherently the easiest to corrupt. The church strives to adhere to higher standards, but even it is sometimes stricken with scandals like the Catholic priest abuse of young men and the Jim Bakker scandal. In spite of the restrictions the marketplace naturally imposes on participants, businessmen still endeavor to cut corners and corrupt the process, especially when aided by government. Scams still occur in the business world. As long as people are involved there will be corruption.

The fact is that government naturally trends toward corruption and the corruption increases as the size, scope, and power of government increase. And unlike the marketplace, there are no natural mechanisms that work against corruption in government. The bigger government becomes, the more corrupt it will become. Pay to play scandals like Solyndra will be peanuts compared to the vast and universal nature of corruption under any new socialist scheme such as Obamacare. The history of government is laden with corruption. Politicians invented ear marks not to benefit their constituents, but to bribe constituents to re-elect them. It is not unusual to hear a Senator or Representative brag that they bring home the bacon to their state or district. During his first campaign for Congress, Gerry Connolly (D-VA) bragged that he would be the “biggest snout in the trough” bringing home the bacon for his district.

In 1963 I got a summer job with the engineering department of the City of Saint Joseph, Missouri. I was a sophomore in college at the time, studying to be an engineer and had passed a civil engineering course on surveying. My short time with the engineering department of St. Joseph was an eye-opening experience. Although I arrived at work each day on time, the survey crew (of which I was a member) did not leave until an hour or two later. Our first stop was breakfast at a local restaurant and then we might “run the gun” (do some surveying) for an hour or so. Each survey crew member was then dropped off at their house for lunch. A couple of hours later, I’d be picked up again and after a few personal errands by the leader of the crew, we might work for another hour or so and then knock off. This happened day after day all summer long, except for Fridays. On Friday we got paid. On those days we would hang around the engineering office during the morning until we received our pay checks and then we had lunch and knocked off at noon. I eventually got demoted from the survey crew after I told my boss that I now understood why socialism doesn’t work.

If it is that bad in local city government, imagine how bad it is in a state or in the federal government? The big, expensive bash in Hawaii by the GSA folks is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, the further away government is from the people, the less responsive and less efficient, productive and honest it is. I saw socialism first hand and it does not work. But the failure of socialism to work or to avoid corruption is understood by anyone who has been involved with it. In fact, the lawyers and politicians who design government programs and agencies understand the natural tendency government toward corruption. They write tens of thousands of pages of regulations and create hundreds of new bureaus, panels and bureaucrats to police the corruption. Yet every one of the new bureaucrats will be under great pressure to compromise their ethics and participate in the corruption. It is estimated that Medicare fraud alone exceeds $25 billion dollars per year and yet no one can do anything about it. That $25 billion will be a pittance compared to what can be expected under Obamacare. No one has ever be able to suppress fraud and corruption in government. But isn’t the free market equally corrupt?

Of course businessmen and women are just as subject to corruption as are those in government. They have the same human weaknesses that everyone else has. However the fact is that it is difficult if not impossible to be dishonest and corrupt and still stay in business and be profitable. In business, as in government, the larger the enterprise, the greater opportunity is for corruption. But there is a severe penalty for corruption as was shown in the case of Enron. When you cook the books, as Enron did, the ultimate penalty is financial collapse. When that happens management is exposed as incompetent and dishonest and officers face criminal and civil penalties. In such cases stockholders are punished for not exercising necessary oversight of management, seeing the value of their stock holdings evaporate. It’s not a pretty picture, but it is the reality of living in an imperfect world populated by imperfect people.

The fact is that the marketplace itself wages war against corrupt participants. Conspiracies are not sustainable—there is no honor among thieves. Businessmen love to create monopolies so they can be more powerful and become more wealthy, but monopolies can only exist if abetted by government. In the free market attempts at monopolies always fail. There are no exceptions. If someone tries to corner the market on crude oil, someone else will find a new oil source or find a substitute means of energy. All attempts at creating a monopoly without government aid always collapse like a house of cards. Because the free market will not sustain a monopoly what do corrupt businessmen do? They try to use government to make it harder for competitors to enter into the marketplace using licensing, costly registration, regulations, and fees to keep out competition. Government is their essential partner in corruption. Government is the reason that the airlines were composed of cartels that kept prices higher. Prices of airfares did not decline to market levels until the airlines were deregulated. Government was the reason for the high price of long distance calls (over land lines) because it allowed AT&T to have a monopoly. Until the monopoly was eliminated by a US Supreme Court ruling, calls were more expensive. Moreover the AT&T monopoly served to restrain scientific advancement in the area of communications.

While businesses run by men are just as susceptible to corruption as those in government, the fact is that businessmen who want to cheat find it difficult to do so. The marketplace revolts against corruption and fraud. If a business cuts corners on the quality of their products, buyers will find another provider. If a business charges too much, the customer will seek out a less expensive vendor. A marketplace free of government intervention in the form of subsidies or punitive taxes on certain products or services will always provide the best services and products at the lowest possible prices to the widest possible number of customers. Subsidies corrupt the marketplace and hurt the consumer in four ways. First, they result in higher taxes to the consumer, and second they promote non-marketplace solutions that are inefficient and impractical. Third, they hurt businesses offering true marketplace solutions because they cannot compete with government subsidized competitors, and fourth, such subsidies delay and impede the development of new products, solutions, and inventions. Ultimately government subsidies distort the marketplace, kill jobs, slow down new product development and lower the standard of living of all Americans.

But the problem with big government is not just subsidies. Suppose that government has a monopoly on providing health services, oil production, farming, or any major enterprise. Where will you go if the prices are too high, the service is bad and the quality is awful (the three hallmarks of government run enterprises like the US Postal Service)? You will be left with no choice but mediocrity. I like to say that the difference between the free market and socialism can be seen clearly by the difference between the dreadful Trabant automobile of Communist East Germany and the Volkswagen automobile of West Germany. West and East Germany are no longer divided thanks to Ronald Reagan, but the contrast between these two automobiles is still valid. As you may remember, East Germany was the economic showcase of communism! Yet when East and West Germany were still divided the people of West Germany had access to better automobiles that everyone could afford to own. They didn’t just have the option of buing a Volkswagen, but also could choose an Audi, a BMW or even a Mercedes. Most families owned multiple cars. However, in socialist East Germany only the privileged few had access to automobiles. And the only automobile you could buy was the Trabant—that had an outdated and inefficient two-stroke engine that belched smoke and was expensive and hard to get. The difference between the Trabant and the VW is the difference between free enterprise and socialism. One meets the needs of people and the other doesn’t.

Worse yet, government is an easily corruptible enterprise. Corruption was rampant in East Germany and throughout the old Soviet Union. While customers and sellers freely exchange dollars for services and goods in a free market, elected officials and bureaucrats are always susceptible to corruption. At the local level, city councilmen often take bribes to secure liquor licenses and zoning permits. There is no marketplace restraint on politicians or politicians in terms of wages or performance. Once your congressman is elected, he or she is a free agent. What elected official cares if an irate citizen calls if the caller is not a member of a constituency that is necessary for re-election? It takes just 51% of the votes of a legislature to pass a bill that subsidizes one company or punishes another company. By contrast, no company has any power over a citizen. No one is forced to buy a product or service from any company unless the government has granted that enterprise a monopoly. No company has power over your life or mine. No one fears Coca Cola, Ford, IBM, Apple or Microsoft because these companies hold no power to diminish your individual freedom. But anyone with common sense rightly fears government.

How will Obamacare work? The answer is that it won’t work. And if allowed to continue as law, politicians will see that those who do not support them receive less medical care. No socialistic scheme ever works. Politics always prevails. Socialized medicine not only destroys incentives for improvement in care and for extra effort in providing services, it increases the cost dramatically through the vast bureaucracy created to ration health care. Instead of the marketplace allowing free citizens to decide how much they want to spend on health care, bureaucrats will decide under Obamacare who will receive care. So what recourse will someone have who is older and needs immediate care, but that care is denied? He or she will either bribe the medical services provider with cash payments or will be forced to suffer or die. That’s the only way socialized medicine and socialism works. Take the socialized medicine program of Poland for example. A young man in Gdansk, Poland told me that if he becomes ill and needs a doctor the typical wait is six months. If he then needs a specialist, it is another six to nine months. I asked him how health care is for Poles who are 65 years of age and older. His answer was, “They don’t receive any healthcare.” In England socialized medicine is a disaster, especially for older people. If you are 60 years of age or older in England and need dialysis you will be refused. If you need an MRI in the United States you can get one quickly, but in Canada the waiting time is more than six months. There are today more MRI machines in Fairfax County, Virginia than there are in the entire nation of Canada. That is the way socialized medicine has worked (or not worked) from the beginning. No matter what part of the economy is controlled or owned by government, the pattern repeats itself.

The irony is that the marketplace always works, even in a socialist nation. Just as dammed up water works to find an alternate route, the free market finds a way to work. The so-called black market in countries like Italy is simply the marketplace finding a way to provide the goods and services that socialism afails to provide. In Soviet Russia less than 10% of the farm land was owned by private citizens, yet that 10% of the land produced more farm products than the 90% of the farm land under control of the collective farms. Socialism is neither productive, or efficient, or fair. And on top of that, it is always corrupt.

In a socialist country any service provided by the government is rationed—cars, gasoline, automobiles, refrigerators, health care. The only way to get to the head of the line is through bribery. My American friend who lives in Moscow explained to me that getting approval to keep your car in Russia means that you must drive outside the border of Russia and stay there at least one 24 hour period every six months. If you do that at great expense, inconvenience, and at some danger, you can get your auto permit renewed. However almost no one ever does that. Instead they pay a small bribe to the worker who issues the renewal papers and it is taken care of. This is multiplied ten thousand times ten thousand in all bureaucratic, socialistic states. It is the inevitable consequence of big, all-powerful government. I know that liberals honestly believe that this time it will be different. Everyone who advocated bigger and bigger government before them promised the same thing, but the outcome was always the same—more and more corruption. Worse yet, a society that accepts bribery and other forms of corruption as a natural way of life—think Italy, France, England, Mexico, etc.—will sink toward accepting all other forms of corruption as natural. Socialism is not only corrupt, it is corrupting of the human soul. When government legalizes theft and takes honestly earned wealth from one individual and gives it to another, it is engaging in immoral behavior that will in turn corrupt the entire population.

Such corruption is the natural state of big government. And thus corruption is the natural state of socialism. Liberals condemn Stalin for his failure to create true socialism, but Stalin gets a bad rap. The corrupt nature of the Soviet state was the natural and inevitable outcome of centralized power and socialist government. Socialism is inefficient, dehumanizing, and always corrupt. There are simply no enforceable restraints on those who serve as the powerful bureaucrats who decide life and death issues for their citizens. Powerful bureaucrats running any socialized medicine scheme, whether called Obamacare or socialized medicine by any other name, become potentates who can and will manipulate your life, treating you as the peasant you will have become. It’s the inherent nature of all-powerful government.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Orwellian Doublespeak

The recent G-8 Summit of global leaders was hosted by President Barack Obama. The news media characterized the meeting as a conflict between supporters of “growth” and supporters of “austerity.” The message was duly repeated by all the mainstream media—“growth or austerity” intoned the New York Times, “growth or austerity” chanted The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times in unison, “growth or austerity” mimicked ABC, CBS and NBC.

It was all Orwellian Doublespeak. Since when did following the proven path to prosperity by balancing your budget and only spending what you can afford become austerity? Or when did government spending money you don’t have and running up debt that threatens worldwide financial collapse and depression become growth? Government spending only results in one thing—growing a bigger and more powerful government. George Orwell was prescient. He understood the mindlessness of ideologues that would willingly pretend up was down and down was up and hot was cold to advance their failed economic ideas. Those Soviet five year economic plans worked so well.

The old Pravda had nothing on today’s news media. Spending trillions of dollars on failed stimulus programs becomes a “growth” agenda and balancing your budget, reducing the size of government, and ending wasteful government programs becomes “austerity.” Any fool knows that balancing your budget is just good common sense and that spending money you don’t have on failed programs that starve the free market of the money it needs to grow is just stupidity. This is the same kind of reasoning that prevailed in the fall of 1931 that led to a worldwide depression.

But the mainstream media agenda laced with the arsenic of dishonesty is the topic of this blog. One of the great canards perpetuated today is that Ronald Reagan cut social welfare spending. It is absolutely untrue. In fact, he reduced the rate of growth in welfare spending. Only in Washington, DC can cuts in the rate of growth in spending be characterized as cuts in spending without laughing out loud. So in Orwellian doublespeak, increases become cuts.

This lack of journalistic integrity is a continuing pattern that goes back many decades. Who but an agenda driven media would characterize a socialist like Adolph Hitler (head of the National Socialist Party) as being on the right? Who but a corrupted media would characterize the hardliners (i.e. communists) in Russia as “conservatives.” There is only one purpose in identifying Hitler as a man of the right or hard line communists in Russia as conservatives and that is to confuse Americans and slander American conservatives. Those on the right believe in the principles of the Founders, “that government that governs least, governs best.” Hitler and his fellow socialist, Joseph Stalin, wanted big powerful government. They wanted gun control and they got it. They wanted universal (and awful) health care and they got it. They punished minorities. They killed millions, and both Hitler and Stalin were darlings of liberal journalists like Walter Lippmann and Walter Duranty. In fact, New York Times writer Duranty received a Pulitzer for his fine, objective writing, and it has never been taken back even in the face of indisputable facts that he intentionally lied about the holocaust of Ukrainians brought about by Joseph Stalin.

Consider the stark contrast in the way the mainstream media covered the rallies by the Tea Party and the Occupy trespassers. The media genuflected as Barack Obama praised the Occupy movement and they applauded as Nancy Pelosi said, “God bless them.” The media turned the other way as the Occupy rabble destroyed public property, engaged in vandalism, shouted profanities, uttered anti-Semitic speeches, defecated on automobiles, blocked traffic, and interfered with those who were actually working. The media marveled at the wonder of the Occupy movement that could not explain its purpose, yet hailed murderous dictators and assorted leftists like Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara. They stole, they raped, they fought, they delighted colonies of rats, and yet the mainstream media could not muster any dissatisfaction with them. When they finally disbanded they left mountains of trash behind. The cleanup continues to cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Contrast the barbarian behavior of the Occupy folks with the Tea Party rallies and consider the treatment Tea Partiers received from the mainstream media. While the Occupy movement was received with open arms by the Democratic Party, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the President himself, the Tea Party was scrutinized for any possible infraction. They were accused of being racists and being homophobes. Harry Reid called them radicals for believing in the Constitution.

Members of the Black Congressional Caucus apparently believed their own false narrative that conservatives are racists. They walked through the Tea Party demonstration to the Capitol Building (instead of taking the underground subway as they normally do) expecting and hoping for the Tea Party crowd to utter racial epithets. Their entire walk was documented by multiple TV cameras provided by a compliant news media.

Much to their disappointment there were no racial epithets. Legendary civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis initially accused a Tea Party member of spitting on him, but later had to clarify that he was not spit on, just received some spray from a shouting demonstrator who immediately apologized. To show the total corruption of the news media and their false narrative about conservatives, the late Andrew Breitbart offered $100,000 to anyone who could prove that any Tea Party demonstrator uttered racial or homophobic epithets. Considering the hundreds of thousands of people who attended Tea Party rallies across the United States it was a bold move, but one he did with confidence. The fact is that the oft repeated smear that conservatives are racists and homophobic is just a flat out lie. Breitbart had no takers and kept his money yet the media continues their smear of the Tea Party Movement.

Then there’s the issue of compassion. According to the news media narrative, liberals are compassionate and conservatives are not. No sense in doing any research, everyone knows that liberals have a bleeding heart and that conservatives are stingy. But, unfortunately someone has done the research. Professor Arthur C. Brooks. published his results in a book titled, Who Really Cares and Why? Guess what, the idea that liberals are the compassionate members of society and conservatives are the Scrooges of society is another myth, another lie. What Professor Brooks learned shocked him. He found out that 65% of all charitable giving in the US comes from conservatives. A miserly 35% comes from liberals. So, based on the facts, who are the compassionate members of our society, liberals or conservatives? As it turns out, liberals are only compassionate with other people’s money. They are anxious for the federal government to give away the money of other people to those in need, but they won’t open up their own wallet and donate money to help those in need. It’s like two neighbors bemoaning the plight of a neighbor who is in desperate need of money. Instead of giving that person money from their own pocket they accost yet another neighbor who they believe has too much money and insist that he give money to the neighbor in need. That sums up liberal compassion. Yet, the news media continues to promote the myth that liberals are compassionate and conservatives are miserly.

Finally, there’s the issue of judicial activism. Judicial activism refers to judges ignoring the laws and the United States Constitution. In doing so they become legislators setting forth new laws rather than doing their job of making sure bills passed are within the law and the Constitution. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is a poster child for such judicial activism. The judges on the Ninth Circuit Court repeatedly ignore the Constitution and rule on the basis of their own political views. They trample on individual rights, ignore the spirit and the intent of the Constitution and generally issue decrees that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the intent of laws passed by Congress. It is no wonder that rulings of the Ninth Circuit are turned over by the Supreme Court more than any other circuit court.

Now, with the aid and support of the national news media, the left has turned the meaning of judicial activism on its head. Just this week Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, launched an attack on Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Roberts. He warned him not to overturn Obamacare, saying that if he does so he will be guilty of judicial activism. Like President Obama, Senator Leahy has no respect for the Constitution, the division of powers or the integrity to faithfully pay attention to history. For Obama, Leahy and the Democrats in general, everything is politics. The fact is that the Court has repeatedly ruled that laws are unconstitutional. In fact, one might say that is the primary task of the Court, to determine if a law passes muster as being in concert with the U.S. Constitution according to its original intent. In the past, under more liberal Courts it has been common for the Court to flaunt the intent of those who drafted the Constitution and approve legislation well beyond the enumerated powers of the Federal Government. As liberals like to say, “the Constitution is a living document,” meaning they can interpret it to mean whatever they want it to mean. I sure wouldn’t want to play baseball with someone who thinks the rules are “living rules” that mean whatever they want them to mean.

Senator Leahy has been in the forefront of encouraging past courts to engage in true legal activism, finding new and imagined rights in the Constitution, ignoring the limitations of the federal government to abide by enumerated powers only, yet he has the chutzpa to say in regard to Judge Roberts, “I trust that he will be a Chief Justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the Judicial Branch.” According to Leahy the “proper role of the Judicial Branch” is to ignore the Constitution and abide by whatever liberals desire. And then, with a straight face the good Senator said, “The conservative activism of the recent years has not been good for the Court.” In other words, abiding by the letter and the intent of the writers of the Constitution is bad, while ignoring the original intent of the drafters of the Constitution is good. What despicable behavior by a U.S. Senator, especially one who is head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His words make a mockery of the concept of a government of laws. And who is standing on the sidelines cheering? The mainstream media, of course.

There is no independent news media, save FOX News Channel and a few independent minded newspapers, TV and radio stations. Without any shame whatsoever, the news media serves as the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party and especially for President Barack Obama.

To recap, in the Orwellian doublespeak of the news media, living within your means is “austerity,” deficit spending by the government is “growth,” reducing the increase in government spending is “cuts,” hardline communists are conservatives, Socialists like Hitler are right-wingers, the Occupiers are worthy of praise and blessing, the Tea Partiers are racists and homophobes, compassion is spending someone else’s money, stinginess is donating your own money, ignoring the Constitution is “a strong institutional sense of the judicial branch,” and adhering to the original intent of the Constitution is “judicial activism.”

And when pigs fly…

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dehumanizing Ideological Blindness

Those on the left suffer from a dehumanizing ideological blindness. They are a victim of their inability to see humans as individual, unique creations of God, but instead see only groups of people. Their ideology is built on the fallacy that human nature is on an upward climb. They believe that people, at least certain people, are steadily evolving into a kinder, more tolerant life form. Instead of seeing themselves as in the same pot of stew as every other man or woman ever born, broken and sinful, they see themselves at having achieved a higher vision, and a higher level of goodness.

Accordingly, they seek to create a top-down society governed benignly by “enlightened” leaders that will make things better for everyone. Because they are intellectually and morally better than everyone else they will be able to create a heaven on earth. Every liberal/progressive believes that they can create a more perfect, more fair, more just, more equal society if only everyone else of lesser moral and intellectual standards would just get out of their way. Like a disease, it affects some liberals more than others, but the perfect or nearly perfect society is their faulty and dangerous dream.

Sadly, it was the very same dream as Voltaire, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Denis Diderot, the ideological founders of the French Revolution. They were “enlightened” beyond everyone else and saw themselves as capable of not only replacing the crown, but creating a nearly perfect society based on “fraternity, equality, and liberty”—the cry of the French Revolution. The French Revolution was based on an entirely different premise than the American Revolution. While the American Founders clearly understood the fallen state of man and endeavored to limit the power of men in and through government, the French Revolution elevated men to absolute power, creating a government of “enlightened” men, rather than a government of laws that restrains men. The French Revolution was a bloody reign of terror.

Some Americans and Englishmen praised the French Revolution, especially Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, even after it was evident that it was a murderous régime. Perfection was the dream as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. Mass murders one and all, they began their march toward power promising a “workers’ paradise” such as the world had never seen before. Even though he was fully aware of the mass starvation in Ukraine by Stalin, liberal New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief, Walter Duranty continued to praise Stalin because he was in love with the Soviet Revolution.

When Adolph Hitler first came to power, his most prominent champion in the US was liberal columnist, Walter Lippman. Not to be outdone by Duranty, Walter Lippman repeatedly praised Adolph Hitler for the great new socialist society he was creating in Germany. Long after others like Churchill warned of the danger of Hitler’s rise, Lippman finally fell silent in his praise for Hitler.

Just as Lenin and Stalin talked of the new “Soviet Man” who would be better and kinder and more generous and intelligent than anyone who had come before him, today’s liberals think of themselves as morally and intellectually better than others. These are the same people who continually downplayed the Soviet menace and often praised Soviet leaders because frankly, they were and are sympathetic to the socialist ideology. They found much to like in the socialist policies of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot because they share the same blind belief in that unsustainable economic concept. They are angry at these tyrants, not because of their attempt to implement socialism, but because they failed to do it right. If only Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot had not been corrupt, they could have succeeded in creating a socialist Nirvana, so goes the thinking of today’s liberals.

Tyrants like Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Zedong are all cut from the same cloth. They didn’t start out as tyrants. Hitler was said to be charming at a cocktail party. Stalin was an altar boy. Fidel was known for his charisma. Frankly, they were all accomplished politicians, great orators, magnetic leaders, spellbinding speakers. That’s the problem. They were true believers in socialism as the key to a perfect society.

Socialism is like opium. It’s about gaining unbelievable power over others. It’s about being smarter and better than others. It’s a drug that controls emotions and ideas. Socialists think of people as groups, not as individuals. The poor are a group. Women are a group. The elderly are a group. Union members are a group. The young are a group. There are good groups and bad groups. The bad groups include the rich, business owners, gun owners, conservatives, and white males. Of course, there is crossover between groups, but it’s all about groups, not about individuals.

That’s why when the woman questioned President Obama about her vigorous elderly mother getting a hip transplant under Obamacare, he coldly dismissed that as unrealistic and suggested instead that she take an aspirin for the discomfort. The old lady wasn’t in the right group as determined by liberal intellectuals. Young people are good for society, but older people who are not productive don’t deserve the same medical care. And who makes such determinations? Liberal rulers, of course, are smarter and more enlightened than free people making those decisions. This is the dehumanizing ideological blindness of today’s liberals.

Administration officials who have been instrumental in the creation of Obamacare believe that the government should intervene and terminate Down syndrome children in the womb, for their own good, of course. As a state senator, our President voted for an Illinois abortion bill that sounds as if it were written by NAZI Dr. Josef Mengele. If an abortion is “botched” and the baby is alive outside the womb, another doctor is to be called in to kill the baby. That’s the essence of the bill State Senator Obama voted for.

In Oregon a law was enacted that allows for euthanasia. When the quality of life (as determined by another family member or by some government health worker) is no longer good enough to justify continued existence, it’s time to simply snuff out the life of that individual. No longer is it God’s decision when life will end. It is now the decision of someone who has put himself in the place of God.

The liberals fought tooth and nail against the elimination of partial birth abortion, a horrendous procedure that stabs the baby in the head to kill it as it is leaving the birth canal. Why, because for a liberal it’s a choice, not a child. If the birth of a child is inconvenient for the mother, kill it.

It’s all for the good of society they tell us. Liberals bleed for the masses and for groups, but they don’t care much for real individuals. They don’t see each human as an amazing creation of God. In fact, liberals don’t have much use for God at all. They don’t like His Ten Commandments. Honor God? No thanks. Respect your parents? Not if they are retrograde nationalistic Neanderthals. Don’t lie? Go ahead and lie if it will advance the cause. Don’t covet? It’s OK to be envious of those who are successful. Don’t kill? It’s a fetus, not a life. Don’t commit adultery? It depends on the situation. All morals and ethics are relative for liberals. There are no absolutes.

Treating people as members of groups instead as precious creations of God is a dehumanizing ideological blindness that leads to the rationalization of terrible crimes against individuals. This blindness justifies ignoring the needs of an old lady who has the means and the vigor to get a knee replacement. It justifies confiscatory taxation to punish the rich. It justifies the killing of undesirable babies who will not “benefit” society. It justifies ignoring the law if you know “what is better” for society.

Liberals aren’t better people; they are the same as you and me. As Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It doesn’t matter who it is—you, me, the man next door, down the street or across the nation—we are all susceptible to corruption, because there is evil in all of us. As James Madison famously wrote in Federalist Paper 51, “If men were angels no government would be necessary.” But of course, as Madison and the other Founders understood, men are not angels. Each and every woman is flawed and corrupt.

As King David said, “Indeed, I was born guilty. I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:1). Isaiah wrote, “We’ve all become unclean, and all our righteous acts are like permanently stained rags.” (64:6) Saint Paul wrote, “Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23) The misunderstanding of human nature is the fatal flaw of liberalism. It’s what separates the wisdom of the Founders from today’s liberals. Attempts to create the “right” socialism are doomed to ignominious failure just as were the socialist dreams of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and Chavez. The only question is, how much will humans have to suffer before their failed scheme collapses?

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Tyranny and dictatorship sneak up on nations and individuals. Tyrants don’t announce their plans, instead they lull people to sleep with promises they can’t keep and with intoxicating entitlement programs. They give away money to preferred groups, money that they must first take from the people. They create nothing but promises and when they give away something the cost is individual freedom. As the father of our country, George Washington said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”

We stand on the precipice. By spending money we don’t have we have mortgaged the future of our children and grandchildren. Legions of bureaucrats and regulators spread across our land killing jobs, strangling energy production, crippling our economy. Immorality has become the norm, and traditional values are mocked. Corruption, the inevitable consequence of more government, stains our land.

Have we passed the point of no return? We can be comforted with the knowledge that we are more than a remnant. Our lives and the future of our children depend on God’s mercy and grace. It is as the Psalmist said, “God rules the nations. He sits upon his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8) With our prayers, our actions, our dollars, and our votes we must continue on with the hope of the Pilgrims that God will preserve us.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest Blogger: Mike Hiban on the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

There is a way for Democrats to convince Republicans to abandon the Taxpayer Protection Pledge they’ve all signed with Americans for Tax Reform. But first they must do three things: 1) go to school on what motivates Republicans on taxes, 2) show some humility and 3) show some patience.

Wolf Blitzer did none of these things in the Presidential debate in November. He asked Rick Perry and Rick Santorum whether they would accept $1 in tax increases for $10 in spending cuts. Right then and there on national television he wondered aloud why they wouldn’t raise taxes and end the “gridlock.” If Blitzer had taken a few minutes to drill down and learn why the TPP is so popular with the GOP, he never would have asked such a silly question.

As Ann Coulter has pointed out, “For Americans who are unaware of the Democrats history of reneging on their promises to cut spending in return for tax hikes, the Republicans’ opposition to tax increases does seem crazy.” Republicans weren’t born philosophically opposed to all tax increases at all times. The problem is they’ve been burned repeatedly in the past. As Grover Norquist told the Simpson Bowles Commission, “In 1982 President Reagan and Congressional Democrats agreed on a plan that promised to cut $3 in spending for every $1 in tax hikes. All the tax hikes went through. Spending, though, grew from $808 billion in 1983 to 1.06 trillion in 1988. In 1990, President Bush and Congressional Democrats agreed on a plan that promised to cut $2 in spending for every $1 in tax hikes. All the tax hikes went through (including a hike in the top income rate). Spending, though, grew from 1.25 trillion in 1990 to 1.52 trillion in 1995.”

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on my descendants to the 3rd and 4th generations.

As any salesman knows, to make a sale you must anticipate and overcome the customer’s objections. If Blitzer were a fox and not a Wolf, he might have posed this question: “Democrats have lied in the past when promising to cut spending. They fooled the Gipper in 1982. They conned Bush in 1990. But what if the Democrats passed and ENACTED sizeable and significant spending cuts FIRST? What if they closed down the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy and Interior and auctioned off the buildings? Then, would you consider raising taxes?”

The problem is Democrats don’t think they need to make the first move. They think the pledge is going to wither away. Last October, the New York Times ran a headline that said “Tax Pledges Lose Allure as Eyes Turn to Reform.” The article went on to say “while some pledges, like marriage vows, may always carry weight, strict anti-tax pledges may be losing some of their sheen.” Unfortunately for the Times, the pledge seems to be getting more popular. In June of 2010 Norquist spoke of 173 Representatives and 33 Senators on board. Today there are 238 Representatives and 41 Senators on board. Only six GOP House Reps and seven GOP senators have not signed the pledge. What’s that? They got Lugar? Six GOP Senators.

Democrats are going to need to come to Grover hat in hand. They are going to have to confess their past deceits. They are going to have to wait for real spending cuts to happen before they can collect on their tax increases. In this age of Solyndra and GSA spending scandals, the Republicans aren’t going to raise taxes unless they got an offer too juicy to refuse. Your move Mr. President.

Friday, May 4, 2012

American Exceptionalism

What is the 2012 Presidential election really about? It is about two views of the United States of America that are in stark contrast with each other. One view is founded in a bitter perspective that the United States is a corrupt nation that has gained prosperity on the backs of the weak, the poor and the disadvantaged. The other view of our nation is as someplace exceptional, a nation more generous, more caring, more free and filled with more opportunity for all than any other nation in the history of the world. The 2012 election is nothing less than a harsh clash of these views. It is in many ways a national debate on whether or not the Founders created a truly exceptional nation in the annals of history, or whether, as the late Howard Zinn described the Founders in his best-selling textbook “A People’s History of the United States”…

“They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership.”

There are many books with the same perspective as Zinn, such as “The Myth of American Exceptionalism” and we have a President who apparently sees our nation as no more exceptional than any other nation on earth. He has stated his desire to “transform” America by redistributing wealth, not creating conditions to generate more wealth. President Obama is angry with America. He is embarrassed by American pride and success. That’s why one of the first things he did after taking office was to go on an apology tour. He doesn’t like our form of government, he doesn’t like our choice of allies, he doesn’t like our economic system, he doesn’t approve of our prosperity (that he believes was gained at the expense of others) and he doesn’t believe that free enterprise works to the benefit of all Americans. He wants to take the United States of America down a notch. He believes that success should be punished and that government’s role is to provide not just opportunity, but equal outcomes. His goal is an entitlement society not an opportunity society. In short, President Obama sees nothing exceptional or good or great about the United States of America or about its Founders.

Unlike our President, I grew up believing that the United States of America was not only the greatest nation on the face of the earth, but also the greatest nation in the history of the world. I believed and still believe that there has never been a nation like the United States. I learned this in school and it was reinforced by my parents. They too believed that America was truly unique in the annals of history. They believed that there was nothing that Americans could not do with the blessing of God. My parents revered the Founders of our nation and the documents they wrote—the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. There was no doubt in their minds or in mine that America was the greatest, most generous, most free, and most compassionate in the history of the world.

This unabashed belief that America was uniquely great was built upon the belief that the Founders of our nation—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Henry—had created something special in the history of the world—a truly unique country where each and every person could embrace and enjoy individual freedom to nearly unlimited lengths, providing his free actions did not impinge on the actions of any other Americans. The American Dream was a vital part of the belief that America was an exceptional nation. The Dream was the belief that all Americans were born with equal rights under God and that because of our legacy of freedom we could pursue our dream without interference from anyone else, especially the government. An essential part of this dream was that each American could go as far and high as their hard work, talent, and God’s blessings took them. It certainly wasn’t just about economic success, although that was a part of it. It was about realizing your dreams with the sky being the limit.

It was this vision of America as the land of opportunity that caused my four grandparents and tens of millions of others to pull up stakes, uproot their family and bet all on coming to America. And, they weren’t disappointed. While the country they came from may have been cultured and refined in many ways the United States was not, the land they came to was the land they dreamed of, a great, good, free country. What could have possessed someone like my mother’s parents to completely uproot their family in Germany and board a sailing ship to come to a land they had never even seen before? Well, in their particular case, two brothers had gone ahead and established themselves as cobblers (shoe makers) in Hiawatha, Kansas. They weren’t getting rich, and didn’t plan to, but they found the freedom and opportunity in America to be so exhilarating, and the worship of God so open and intense that they urged their parents and siblings to uproot themselves and come to America. One of those siblings had a sweetheart who she planned to marry. She had to decide whether to stay behind and marry, or to come to America with her family. She chose to come to America.

It wasn’t like deciding to move from Virginia to California, or even Alaska today. It wasn’t a temporary thing. When they left Germany they knew they would never see their friends or their town, or the countryside with which they were familiar again. It was permanent. And, it was a high risk venture, and they knew it. They boarded a wooden sailing ship—the kind of ship you and I would probably only ride for a pleasant, calm afternoon, but they were on it for weeks through good weather and bad. They knew and trusted that their lives were in God’s hands. While it may have been terrifying at times, their faith and hope rested in God for safe passage and for His blessings in the new land.

They braved all to come to America. What use would it have been to come to America if it was not dramatically different from the land they came from? It wasn’t just the land and it wasn’t because they were poor. To the contrary, my mother’s parents didn’t come in steerage. They cleared US Customs in Germany and traveled in less crowded conditions. They weren’t rich either. My grandfather and his sons knew a trade and they risked all to come to what they believed to be a unique land of opportunity.

No one would take such a step lightly if they were not absolutely convinced that the United States of America was a far, far better place than where they had come from. For millions America held the promise of an exceptional nation and it did not disappoint. It was this hope, this promise that caused tens of millions of immigrants to risk all to come to our land. Today America remains a shining beacon of hope and opportunity for millions around the globe who would gladly give up everything to come to America. But is there really such a thing as American Exceptionalism? People immigrate to other nations, too.

Is American Exceptionalism a myth as some would have us believe? Speaking to the national conference of the National Council for Social Studies, the 22,000 member organization of teachers of history, sociology, geography, political science, psychology and economics, author James Loewen said, “We need to de-exceptionalize the United States. We’re just another country and another group of people.”

Really? Is that the truth? Have those of us who have believed in the exceptional nature of America and the American Dream, from the time of the Pilgrims until today been wrong? Have we put our faith in a myth? Were those tens of millions of immigrants wrong? Are all those Latin Americans who cross our border illegally, risking life and limb, foolish to believe that America is different from where they came from? Is all the prosperity and widespread wealth in America an accident? Is it just because we happen to live in a land with more abundant natural wealth and resources than any other nation that we are more prosperous than other nations?

This view of Americans that the United States was an exceptional land was noted by Alexis de Tocqueville in the second volume of his book, Democracy in America. Even de Tocqueville, who wrote favorably of the American experiment, found the passion and the pride of Americans in their country to border on obnoxious.

“I say to an American that the country he inhabits is beautiful; he replies: ‘It is true, there is none like it in the world!’ I admire the freedom that the inhabitants enjoy, and he responds to me: “What a precious gift freedom is! But there are few peoples indeed who are worthy of enjoying it.’ I remark on the purity of morals that reigns in the United States: ‘I conceive,’ he says, ‘that a foreigner who has been struck by the corruption that is displayed in all other nations may be astonished by this spectacle.’ Finally, I abandon him to the contemplation of himself; but he comes back to me and does not leave me until he has succeeded in making me repeat what I just said to him. One cannot imagine a more disagreeable and talkative patriotism. It fatigues even those who honor it.”

While the prevailing view of the vast majority of Americans may be that America is an exceptional nation, that doesn’t seem to be the perspective of President Barack Obama. In a response to a question posed by Financial Times correspondent, Ed Luce, during his first trip to France as President he gave an entirely different view. In fact, it was his response that sparked the current debate over whether or not the United States is truly an exceptional nation. When the President was asked, if he subscribes, as his predecessors did, “to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world?” the President replied, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

In his book, American Exceptionalism, the late Seymour Lipset (who is credited with coining the term “American Exceptionalism” writes…

“When Tocqueville or other ‘foreign traveler” writers or social scientists have used the term “exceptional” to describe the United States, they have not meant, as some critics of the concept assume, that America is better than other countries or has a superior culture. Rather they have simply been suggesting that it is qualitatively different, that it is an outlier. Exceptionalism is a double-edged concept. As I shall elaborate, we are the worst as well as the best, depending on which quality is being addressed.”

So is the United States of America really an exceptional nation? Or, if it is exceptional, is that to be understood as simply different, sometimes better, sometimes worse? We may think of the United States as an exceptional nation, but what are the views of others around the globe? Do they look upon the United States as did the young Frenchman who was applying for a job at an office services company run by a friend of mine? When asked by my friend why he came to the US, he replied, “Everyone knows the United States is the greatest nation on earth.” Was he right? If so where is the evidence? What is the cause?

While many celebrate American Exceptionalism, there can be no debate that for slaves aboard ships sailing from Africa to America they did not have the vision or the expectation of my ancestors. For those brought to America in chains, this was not an exceptional nation in any terms except bad ones. Similarly, there are other groups—Hispanics, native Americans, Japanese, Irish, and Chinese—for example who could, with some logic and credibility, argue that for their ancestors America was an exceptional nation only in the worst way. No sane person would argue that the United States is a perfect nation, but that alone does not disqualify the United States of America as an exceptional nation.

The discussion is not about the economic might of the United States, which is certainly prodigious. It is not about the astounding and widespread prosperity enjoyed by the vast majority of Americans. It is not about the productivity of the American worker or the innovative genius of entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bill Gates or Stephen Jobs. It’s not even about great engineering achievements such as building the Panama Canal, Hoover Dam, or putting a man on the moon, as amazing as those feats may be. Other nations and other countries have given the world inventors and innovators like Louis Pasteur and Nikolaus Otto. Other nations have blessed the world with composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handle. Still other countries have contributed humanitarians like David Livingstone, great economists like Adam Smith, and exceptional philosophers like Edmund Burke. The United States certainly has no monopoly on greatness in this regard. But that still does not answer the question as to whether the United States is an exceptional nation in the annals of history, but this is a question that does deserve an answer.

This debate over American Exceptionalism is not just a casual question suited for cocktail parties and the academy. This national debate over American Exceptionalism will decide down which path our nation will go in the months and years ahead. It is the core question that must be answered in the affirmative if America is to survive. If America is indeed just another nation, then the Declaration of Independence is just another document. The Constitution of the United States is just another outline for another nation. The Bill of Rights is just another piece of paper. If that is true, then the United States of America is living on borrowed time.

The belief that the United States is truly a unique nation is more than common pride in our ancestry or heritage. Gus Portokalos (the father in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) was obnoxiously proud of his Greek heritage, yet no one who saw the movie would have believed that Gus ever considered or suggested the possibility of returning to Greece. It was understood that he was first and foremost a proud American of Greek ancestry.

It’s not just President Obama or authors Loewen and Zinn who has challenged the idea of America as a unique nation. There are many, especially educators, who don’t think of America as a unique nation at all. They believe in an alternate history. They see America as the source of evil in the world. They believe America’s wealth was achieved on the backs of oppressed minorities. They express the view that freedom is overvalued, as did an appointee of President Obama to the Federal Communications Commission, Mark Lloyd. He said after assuming his position…

“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press,” he said. “This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

To Mr. Lloyd “other communication policies” are far more important than the “blind references to freedom of speech.” Equal results are far more important to men like Lloyd than equal opportunity. They believe that the power of government should be wielded to ensure equal results for all, even at the loss of personal freedom.

Many Americans see the United States of America as a nation that is especially blessed by God. Mentioning God to a liberal is more scary than reading from the Constitution. Even some conservatives shy away from suggesting that the United States is unique or exceptional because it is blessed by God. In a paper presented to the Philadelphia Society, an intellectual conservative group, Society officer Bill Campbell suggested what American Exceptionalism is not. He said it is “improper” to believe that America is unique.” “To be exceptional means to be above average or extraordinary, not to be completely unique.” Of course, no one believes that the United States of America is completely unique. There are similarities between nations, but to say that it is not unique denies it the status and the regard in which it was held by my forbearers and by those who long to come to our land. Mr. Campbell went on to enumerate other “’improper’ understandings of American exceptionalism including the idea that America was ‘chosen’ by God.” Was America “chosen” by God?

The Puritan, John Winthrop, envisioned America as a “city upon a hill,” a godly and just nation of citizens who are specially blessed by God. He saw God as the source of America’s goodness and greatness. It was this vision of America as a “city upon a hill” that President Ronald Reagan referenced in his farewell address to the nation when he said:

“The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs [in the White House], I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.”

“I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.”

Why doesn’t our President, a man who has benefited so greatly from being a citizen of our nation, see the “exceptionalism” of America. Author Dinish D’Souza, who has studied the background of our President closely writes…

“…Obama learned [from Barack Obama, Sr.] to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America’s military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father’s position that the free market is a code word for economic plunder.”

There is no indication whatsoever that our President sees our nation as one blessed by God or even that God is the source of our blessings. In fact, on several speaking occasions the President has carefully excised “endowed by their Creator” when loosely quoting from the Declaration of Independence. At a fundraiser for Democratic Congressional Committee and Democratic Senatorial Committee on September 22, 2010, the President said,

“And what was sustaining us was that sense that, that North Star, that sense that, you know what, if we stay true to our values, if we believe that all people are created equal and everybody is endowed with certain inalienable rights and we’re going to make those words live, and we’re going to give everybody opportunity, everybody a ladder into the middle class, every child able to go as far as their dreams will take them--if we stay true to that, then we’re going to be able to maintain the energy and the focus, the fight, the gumption to get stuff done,”

No mention is made by the President as to who endowed us with inalienable rights. Similarly seven days earlier, speaking to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Gala he said,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what makes us unique.”

Again, there is no reference whatsoever to who endowed us with inalienable rights. The actual words of the Declaration of Independence read,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It is very hard to believe that these omissions were unintentional, coming from someone who lectured on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. And, in fact, these omissions do violence to our understanding of what makes America exceptional. If we leave out “endowed by our Creator” then where do our rights come from, the government?

But of course, that’s exactly what liberals like President Obama believe. It’s no wonder that Obama decried that the US Constitution was “essentially a rendition of negative rights.” Liberals are clearly uncomfortable with our founding documents, especially the Declaration of Independence, without which one cannot correctly understand the United States Constitution.

In 2001, Barak Obama, over public radio station WBEZ-FM, expressed his regret that,

“…the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”

Clearly our President rejects the concepts and ideals of our Founders, their belief that only by restricting the power of government can we preserve the freedom of Americans. And by omitting references to God as the originator of our rights, he chooses government as the source of our rights. He wants government to do things for us and to us. He has no fear of government taking away our basic rights. Thus he has no problem with a one payer health care system that rations health care and that decides who will receive care and who will not based on their usefulness to society.

This pattern of President Obama omitting “endowed by their Creator” in successive excerpts from the Declaration of Independence is especially troubling when you consider that he has chosen to ignore Christian events while setting aside a special White House dinner to celebrate Ramadan. None of this is to suggest that the President is a Muslim or not a patriotic American, but rather it suggests that he is a misinformed student of American history who rejects traditional and thus critical explanations of the roots of American exceptionalism.

The outcome of the discussion of American exceptionalism in the public sphere will ultimately determine which direction our nation will take and whether or not limited government and individual freedom will continue to be the hallmarks of our nation. The election on November 6 will tell us not only who our next President will be, but also whether we will pursue the vision of America as an exceptional nation, or whether we will reject that premise, and the guiding principles of our Founders. The alternative is a perspective that sees the United States of America as “just another nation” and one that has prospered only because it has exploited the weak, the poor, and the disadvantaged. The outcome on November 6 will be momentous, not only for us but also for those yet unborn. Will future generations enjoy the blessings of freedom or will they be sentenced to a life of service to an all-powerful government that runs their life from the moment they arise in the morning to the time they lay their head on their pillow at night? Will November 6, become the beginning of a new birth in freedom, or the beginning of the end for America as we have known it? That is the choice that lays before us.