NOT THE "AUDACITY OF HOPE," BUT THE ARROGANCE OF POWER
Attorney Jonathan Emord
May 3, 2010
Americans have elected a President who by his own terms is “audacious,” to wit his book, The Audacity of Hope. The likely definition of the term audacious that he would have us accept is “intrepid boldness.” There is, however, a more appropriate definition consistent with his practice as president. That definition is insolence heedless of restraint.
There is no line created by the Founders of the American Constitution that President Obama seems unwilling to cross. In his world view, governments lead and people follow. The state is sovereign; the citizen is not.
His book, the “Audacity of Hope” was a modest political piece designed to familiarize America with a friendly face of a candidate who would be president. It is long on platitudes and short on substantive answers to real world problems. At the end of his presidency, there needs to be a sequel to this book—written not by President Obama but by a critical historian. The title of that volume should be the “The Audacity of Power,” meaning the exercise of power heedless of restraint. The term audacity has very much consumed all hope in the America Obama is fashioning.
Another occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, indeed the greatest to occupy the presidency in modern time, was utterly void of that kind of audacity. His soul was humble. He proved that might is most effectively exercised with quiet application against external foes, not with clever artifice against internal foes. He placed his trust in the American people, not in the federal bureaucrat. That President, Ronald Wilson Reagan, spoke words of respect for individualism that made him a natural fit within the mosaic of America, which is a mosaic of liberty. “Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself,” said Reagan, “I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Reagan fit perfectly within the mosaic of liberty that best depicts American greatness, but Obama not only fails to fit within that mosaic, he is rending the design and reordering the pieces to give America an unnatural new substance and appearance. He would have us be European rather than American. Reagan was quintessentially American, a rugged individualist who trusted in the genius of the American people and distrusted government with the same sensibilities as the nation’s Founders. Obama is quintessentially European, a Fabian socialist who believes in the nationalization of private enterprise, trusting not in the American people but in the federal bureaucracy.
Humility is rarely achieved in modern politics. Government once less than a percent of the gross domestic product now fully occupies a third of it. The temptation to wield those resources in ways that prescribe how others must live is great indeed, so long as the code does not apply to the prescriber.
We cannot be free if we choose to support a government that takes from us the fruits of our labors and presumes to know better than we do how those resources should be spent. We can allow the bureaucratic state to dictate our fates (from each according to his ability, to each according to his need), or we can insist on individual liberty and fend for ourselves.
The myth of the Fabian socialist is that nationalization creates economic security and equality. It does neither. Nationalization creates government controlled monopolies that produce substandard and outdated goods, reap enormous returns from the sale of those goods, fill the coffers of governors who rule as Kings and live like them too, and leave the rest of us to work as slaves to the state without reaping the rewards of our own achievements (and so most expend little energy to achieve). By contrast capitalism creates private riches based on the satisfaction of human needs, fills the coffers of risk takers for a time (so long as they fulfill needs), and leaves the rest of us with a chance to achieve comparable gains based on ingenuity (identifying a new or better means to satisfy the needs of all others). In short, Fabian socialism is a cruel joke because it promises economic security and equality to all but in fact locks everyone except governors into a state of near subsistence existence and near total economic slavery.
Fabian socialism is the equivalent of a state monopoly where a multitude of private competing firms is replaced by one politically controlled enterprise. Just as competition lowers prices and yields constant innovation, state sponsored monopolies raise prices and yield few innovations and very few that can satisfy true demand.
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I suspect that our forebears who lived and died for liberty now look upon us from across the veil and wish to know if we will exercise our free agency to restore liberty to America. The 2012 elections will be an ultimate test. Will America vote to re-elect a President and Congress whose actions bespeak a disdain for individual liberty and a love of the bureaucratic state, or will America vote out of office that President and that Congress, dismantle the bureaucratic state they created, and restore the sovereignty of the American people and a market that is free?
© 2010 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved