You will have to excuse the hyperbole in the title of my blog this week, but allow me to explain. The policies of this administration and progressives in general are based on an idea that Americans need the government to take care of us, tell us right from wrong, and protect us from ourselves. The foreign policy of this administration holds the hint of the suggestion that America doesn’t deserve to be the largest military super power on the planet. The growth of government entitlement programs infer that Americans cannot be counted on to take care of the needy in our society unless the government takes our money and does it for us. Let’s look at each one of these things individually, shall we?
1. We need the government to take care of us:
There’s a video circulating around schools taught as part of the curriculum called “The Story of Stuff”. In this video the narrator says that “it’s the government’s job to take care of us.” Do you believe that? Is that the government’s job? When did we move from our founders’ principle that the government is the protector of our freedoms, not the provider of our needs? Matter of fact, it was Thomas Jefferson who said “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
2. The government needs to help us make the right decisions:
With freedom comes personal responsibility. That liberty is the freedom to make good choices and reap the rewards, or to make bad decisions and pay the consequences. I don’t need the government outlawing trans fats or alcohol (as progressives did in the 20’s). If I eat or drink things that are bad for me, then I will pay the consequences. If I become an obese, out-of-work alcoholic who then expects the government to pay all my health care costs and treatment options along with my housing and food stamps, then the government has sheltered me from the consequences of my actions and I will never learn.
Another aspect of this lack of confidence in Americans is seen in environmental policy. I bet that one day in the not too distant future all cars will be hybrid of some sort. That is because the demand for fuel efficiency and the public’s awareness of energy conservation and the environment drives us to be more “green”. Give people the facts and an affordable solution like compact florescent light bulbs or hybrid cars and people will buy them. When solar energy reaches that sweet spot where the benefit outweighs the cost, people will adopt en masse. We don’t need government nanny to force us towards environmental friendliness, people will move there on their own.
3. America is not deserving of military dominance:
Since the early 20th century America has been a military super power with little rivalry. We have used our power to defend and protect but never to colonize or destroy. We haven’t been perfect in all our military decisions, but we have a core principle that America’s might would not be abusively used for imperialism or terrorism. We live in a world that includes some evil people. Unfortunately some of those people hold positions of power in the world. Some have and would use military power to colonize or terrorize. Others would like nothing more than to see “the great Satan” wiped off the map. Obama’s new nuclear policy for America limits our options for defending ourselves and our allies and reduces the deterrent created by nuclear weapons. In a time where nations with very dangerous leaders, like North Korea and Iran, stand on the cusp of nuclear armament, why on earth would we chip at America’s status as the country willing and able to do anything to stop threats to ourselves and the world? I wonder if Iran actually believes at this point that we will do anything to stop them besides the last 6 years of resolution begging and bartering in the UN and with Russia and China.
4. Nowhere is the government’s lack of faith in Americans more evident than in the transition from charity towards entitlements as a source for the needy. Americans have proven time and time again that we are the most generous people on planet earth. We take care of our neighbors, our family, our friends, our community, our country and even other countries’ needy and desperate.
While some safety net is good to catch those who fall through the cracks, we are moving from a safety net to a government harness on each and every one of us. The government will take our money and use it to help with the causes that they see deserving. And since huge bureaucracies are never good at nuance, the government will offer enormous entitlement programs that will act as the teat that the American public will nurse from. Did you know that a baby mammal will nurse far longer than it needs to if their mother does not forcibly wean it?
My real concern about this unconstitutional shift away from personal responsibility to government care and control is that people become what others expect of them. We all know the kid who was told by abusive parents that he would never amount to anything. Then when the kid turned into a loser or a criminal the parent would say “I told you so”. It’s a self fulfilling prophesy. We are losing the generation that truly understood personal responsibility – the “up from your bootstraps” generation. We are raising a new generation that believes that the government will take care of them and that it’s “the government’s job” to do so. Our liberties will disappear as politicians realize that they can buy the votes of the lazy and entitled with the money of the hard-workers.
We must be vigilant to never believe the lie that government can or will take care of us. We must live the principles of charity, military might with honor, self-reliance and acceptance of the consequences. We must never become the people that the progressives expect us to be.