Today I got a call from my Mom. She and my Dad both live in the city I was born in – Warsaw, Poland. They are both elderly and live off of a government pension akin to the US social security system. The reason she called was to let me know of an excruciating pain she has recently been suffering from, resulting from a progressively degenerative neurological condition in her wrist. As all Poles are, she is entitled to free medical care in government health care facilities under the country’s universal health care insurance program. Trying to get help for her condition, she has visited with several general practitioners covered under her free plan, all of whom admit she needs to see a specialist. The last one finally crafted a referral for her and she is now scheduled to see a neurologist … in three months. Ouch !
Her options now include continuing to suffer the intolerable pain for the next 3 months or pay out of pocket to see a private specialist. The fee for a consultation with a neurologist in private practice exceeds two months of her pension income, but under the circumstances she will have to do just that. The costs of any resulting treatments, if not covered under the government health care plan, may have a devastating financial effect on her and my dad’s retirement lifestyle.
My parents could have opted to purchase private health care insurance coverage which provides access to services in private hospitals and clinics with the most skilled specialists but, because the government program is so dominant and pervasive, the cost of the private alternative is beyond the reach of most middle-class Poles. As a result, it is accessible to only the most affluent (or motivated by dire circumstances and lacking other options) individuals.
Interestingly enough, in many European countries the Polish medical system as a whole is actually touted as one of the better and when compared with the British system in particular, it receives accolades for efficiency and quality of care. What is underscored is the diminishing role of the public plan option and the progressively increasing percentage of services being offered under private insurance. The availability and increasing popularity of the private health care option is viewed with envy. A good summary of these changes in the Polish medical system can be found in this article from CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). With this shift, as more competition is introduced in the private sector and the dominance of the government program is lessened (or eliminated), my mom might yet one day be able to afford a private insurance plan and access to the highly skilled medical professionals in Poland, heretofore not accessible to her under her existing plan and her present means.
But in the US exactly the opposite direction is being proposed. There can be very little doubt, and certainly countless examples of dysfunctional government programs across Europe and other countries serve as an example, that a private health care system necessarily offers superior services at a competitive price. As I have written in a prior Naked Liberty article on the Dangers of Comparative Effectiveness, instead of experimenting with proven failed systems, the US should adopt targeted approaches to improving those parts of our current system which offer opportunities for improvement, such as for example the implementation of a national electronic medical records system and tax incentives to support wellness and health awareness.
What’s being proposed is like trading in your comfortable and dependable SUV for a Yugo just because you happened to have gotten a flat tire. Let’s fix the tire and get on with our lives without any more government intervening in it.
* * * * *
Quotation of the Day:
“We should manage our fortunes as we do our health – enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity.“
Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)
* * * * *
We welcome your comments and suggestions, either directly inline, or via email to email@example.com. If you would like to have your article published in Naked Liberty, please contact the editor at the above email address.
American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman.
The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application of its foreign policy, but seldom are they reached by the voices of people who experience first hand how close we are to the USA. In spite of contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate friction, we do share the same fundamental values – and when push comes to shove that is what really counts. Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans, the French soldiers don’t seem to write much online – or maybe the proportion is the same but we just have fewer people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a glimpse of the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier in contact – but that only makes it more authentic.
“We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while – they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army – one that the movies brought to the public as series showing “ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events”. Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.
They have a very strong American accent – the language they speak seems to be not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they themselves admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins at places like Waffle House and McDonalds – they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them – even the strongest of us – and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.
Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland – everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the postage parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the heart of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of their whole people who provides them through the mail all the things that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.
And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seems to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight focused in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark – only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered – everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.
And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all – always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later – which cuts any pussyfooting short.
(This is the main area where I’d like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: ‘If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white/remember its ruin to run from a fight. /So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. ‘In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.’ Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other ‘incident’, the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.
This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder it surprises the hell out of our enemies!)
We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is – from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.
To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America’s army’s deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owed this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers”.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Much of this the various veterans reading will go ‘Well, duh. Of course we do our ‘camp chores’ and stand our posts in good order. There’s a reason for them and if we didn’t we’d get our heads handed to us eventually. And, yeah, we’re in shape. Makes battle easier. The more you sweat, the less you bleed.’
What is hard for most people to comprehend is that that attitude represented only the most elite units of the past. Current everyday conventional boring ‘leg infantry’ units exceed the PT levels and training levels of most Special Forces during the Vietnam War. They exceed both of those as well as IQ and educational levels of: Waffen SS, WWII Rangers, WWII Airborne and British ‘Commando’ units during WWII. Their per-unit combat-functionality is essentially unmeasurable because it has to be compared to something and there’s nothing comparable in industrial period combat history.
‘The Greatest Generation’ WWII vets who really get a close look at how good these kids are stand in absolute awe.
So much of ‘The scum of the earth, enlisted for drink.’
Everyone complains about the quality of ‘the new guys.’ Don’t. The screw-ups of this modern generation are head and shoulders above the ‘high-medium’ of any other group. Including mine.
I wish to hell this would actually get reprinted in the NYT.
I consider myself an interested and vested observer of the American debate on health care reform. After all, the outcome of whatever form the proposed changes in the way health care are delivered (if in fact any changes will indeed be made) will deeply affect our relationship with our doctors, and certainly will have an impact on the quality of the care we receive from health service professionals.
However, listening to the arguments both proponents and opponents use in arguing their respective positions, one has to wonder whether each side is in fact debating the same issue. How can a people of the same nation have such diametrically opposing opinions on the same issue? After all, isn’t there a generally accepted societal consensus on what is good and bad? Surely, no person of significant influence in the government “of the people and for the people,” and certainly no true citizen of this country, would wish upon us something that could potentially be detrimental to our interests and welfare.
So something else must be lurking in the shadows of this debate and this something has to both lie at its root and also be so subtle and elusive so as to not have previously surfaced and itself have been debated. This murky notion must in fact be the core contributor to the disparity in arguments on both sides of the health care debate.
And here I find myself bewildered by the conspicuousness of this seemingly illusive notion. It’s really not that hard to uncover once you do a bit of national introspecting. In fact, the only thing that keeps it from being massively exposed is our fear of taking the issue head on and engaging in a serious dialog about it. It can be stated very simply – Americans don’t have a nationally uniform understanding of, and agreement on, what is an entitlement versus what is individual responsibility.
The American society does not have a generally accepted frame of reference for where welfare ends and where individual responsibility begins. (By the way, if anyone is offended with equating government entitlements with welfare, then I challenge them to provide a clear definition of how the two differ, as I have yet to come across a compelling argument that differentiates between the two). Without first establishing a universally accepted framework, any national debate about governance, whether related to health care, the environment, control of financial systems, employment, etc. is inevitably futile. Even if its result is a solution that many or even most people support, those that don’t will comprise a significant disenfranchised populace, in all likelihood in active opposition to the accepted solution. A continual national tug-of-war results, with deep divisions, and with much productive human energy lost to societal friction.
At this time American’s don’t know who they are, they are in flux, they have lost their grounding in any foundation which could guide them in determining their course and destiny. A fundamental part of this grounding has to be an agreement on the extent to which Americans will allow the government to assert control over their lives, inevitably by usurping individual freedoms and liberty. By defining these boundaries Americans will choose to either return to their roots and founding principles of limited government and individual freedoms and liberty, or embark on the global experiment in socialist revival that is presently unfolding within the EU and throughout a number of countries around the world.
Many in the US look to Europe and see the EU as a social entitlement model worthy of emulating. Many of these progressive thinkers hold prominent positions in the US government or positions which can greatly influence government action. But while extolling the “quality of life” virtues they perceive are important (the touted 8 week summer vacations in France, universal health care in the UK and most other EU countries, etc.), they conveniently overlook the EU’s miserable economic growth rate of less than half that of the US (see table), consistently high unemployment rates, low rate of new business creation, and other factors which are the direct result of anti-capital sentiment across the European continent.
European Union Unemployment Rates
Unemployment rate (%)
Many here see the EU as an experiment in high-speed globalization, one which some feel America must actively participate in so as not to be left behind. But few American government policy writers delve into and openly discuss the mechanics of the social methods being deployed and promulgated throughout European societies. For example, the socialization of many services and economic forces in EU countries (e.g. medical services, education, transportation, certain manufacturing sectors, etc.) is generally accepted as failing or, at a minimum producing sub-optimal results, to which the low rates of economic growth in the EU-15 countries is a glaring testament.
Evidence pointing to the miserable economic results of the early 20th century march of socialism across Eastern Europe, the USSR, Cuba, Mao China, South Korea and other aligned countries are today countered with arguments such as “this time we will do it better, we will do it differently.” Yet no one making these arguments is able to spell out how this will be done. How, for example, will the new global socialist order deal with the hard cold reality that only the free market system is able to produce goods and services in the abundance needed to supply the unproductive part of the world with food, medicine and essential products necessary for their survival? The European feeble sub-2% economic growth is barely able to keep up with its own population growth and needs of its citizens. The US free (reasonably speaking) market is still the most efficient in the manufacturing of goods and services, and by so doing is supplying the world with creative new products and services, not to mention food and medicines. By so doing it is still the only proven and sustainable vehicle which creates high personal wealth for investors and those who create the new ideas and products.
Before one can distribute wealth, one must first be created. No ideology can usurp this basic fact — that without a good economic engine, the train of society cannot move forward, and certainly cannot cross steep hills of adversity. “To each according to his need,” the rallying cry of the Marxist socialist movements, can only have meaning once someone has produced that which satisfies this “need.” Otherwise, it is an empty slogan, devoid of substance, logic and any founding in reality. In order to help those with needs, first a society has to produce wealth, which comes from the application of capitalist principles in the manufacture of goods and services. Historically, America has been the driving locomotive of the world. And ironically, it is the American fee market system which has allowed high-thinking global ideologues and proponents of a new socialist world order to ponder their progressive agendas, while having soup served to them from free market capitalist kitchens.
A strong belief in a system of deep social entitlements is probably the one theme that most universally defines progressive socialism. As Americans debate their universal health care issues, this theme is used as the underlying argument by those who support radical involvement of a higher government order in the way in which health care is dispensed and financed. Opponents are derided as having no appreciation for, nor sensitivity to the overriding public good which comes from a system which, they claim, only a government mandated system can provide. After all, how can any individual or company care for the public good with equal fervor as does the government of the people? No matter that no evidence can be pointed to, neither historically nor in present society, where such public good has ever actually been delivered, efficiently or otherwise.
The great philosopher and writer Ayn Rand (“Atlas Shrugged”) eloquently laid out a world where every decision imposed by a disenfranchised entity (read: government, ruling body, etc.), while in each case for the well intended public good (or the entity’s individual definition of what the “public good” should be), inevitably causes a detrimental disturbance in the flow of goods and services, naturally following the basic principles of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Each subsequent decision attempting to rectify the previous, only causes a deeper rift in the balance of the natural energy that drives man to create and produce. Ultimately, without invention, production and human drive to improve oneself, the society as a whole must collapse so as to at some later time rebuild from its ruins.
As impractical or improbable as it would be, I would suggest that no American should contribute their vote nor voice their opinion on the health care debate without first reading “Atlas Shrugged” and becoming familiar with the core philosophy of Objectivism.
As one of my friends and excellent writers Nancy Morgan of RightBias.com put it:
“The people that don’t read it will likely end up living it.”
In the immortal words of Laurel and Hardy: “Here’s another fine mess you’ve got me into.”
And there’s probably no better way to describe the situation that California, this once prosperous state, which from the days of the gold rush has attracted millions to its Pacific shores has found itself in. Its golden image, once a magnet for the ambitious, talented or simply enchanted by the beauty of its land and people, is now tarnished by years of fiscal mismanagement and irresponsible government spending.
It is wondrous indeed to note how a state with such riches in natural resources and richness in the diversity of its people can find itself in such financial ruin. The state of California (which if it were a country would be the 8th largest economy in world) has found itself unable to fund its current fiscal deficit exceeding $24 billion and service its debt of over $72 billion to its bond holders. By any standard definition of insolubility, the state of California is bankrupt. And while teetering on the brink of being in default of its obligations, interestingly the state’s constitution explicitly does not allow it to declare bankruptcy – a curious dilemma.
The reasons which have brought California to this sad financial state are well known and documented. Summarized, it could be captured in the simple premise of having made too many promises without the wherewithal to deliver on them. These include promises made to government employees, such as in cases of retirees ending up with multiple pensions, some in the six figures. They include overly generous social programs, extending across citizens and non-citizens alike; lax enforcement of state entitlements; increasingly hostile tax burden on businesses including a state sales tax approaching double digits. Also most would target the ineffective state constitution which mandates a 60% majority in the state senate to enact major financial reform. By all practical terms such majority has been virtually impossible to achieve, resulting in stalemate on any attempts to curb the state’s insatiable spending appetite.
Whereas the causes of the states virtual collapse can (and will be) studied by many social economist and political analysts, the practical matter of how to address the dilemma and provide a sustainable solution to the California crisis remains. Prior attempts by its governor Schwartzenegger to seek a federal bailout have fallen on deaf ears of President Obama, and rightfully so as the precedent set by such action would be dangerous and ridden with consequences beyond our ability to predict. Furthermore, no constitutional authority has either originally or through any amendments been granted to the federal government to provide for such a bailout.
So what options exist for California? The ones most commonly discussed include:
1. Providing government credit guarantees of California’s debt have been floated (CBS News Story) but generally discounted as too temporary and not addressing the core of the state’s fiscal crisis. Furthermore, guarantees of such an amount could negatively impact on the credit rating of the US government, which itself is struggling with mounting debt and looming inflation. As traditional with the democratic liberal wing, its chief democratic rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services is in support of such measures.
2. Allowing the state to default on its obligations has also been floated, but appears to have the support of only the most extreme faction of constitutionalists. Opponents argue that this would undoubtedly create a dangerous ripple effect throughout the US economy, the cost of which would potentially exceed any bailout which would be offered to the state.
3. Aggressive tax increases (primarily in the form of sales taxes) to compensate for the precipitous fall in tax revenues have the support of many of the liberal democrats in the state senate. However, under the terms of the state’s Proposition 13, their enactment has become a virtual impossibility due to the 60% majority provision. Furthermore, California residents have over the last years become increasingly more vocal against that state’s excessive tax rates, further diminishing the possibility of any such actions.
What is discouraging is that no significant momentum exists behind a movement to address what is the root cause of the state’s troubles – state government inaction and excessive tax burdens. In order, first the state needs to procedurally address the ineffective provisions of its state constitution, including Proposition 13. Armed with new powers to reduce the tax burden on its citizens and enterprises, a well targeted reduction in state business taxes, and either personal income taxes or sales taxes would restore vibrancy to the California economy and begin to again attract new investments and spur an influx of productive sectors of the population back to the state.
While in 2005 the US Census was projecting California as one of the states with highest growth rates, in the recent years of financial turmoil the opposite has begun to occur, with residence relocating to less tax onerous states, among them Florida, Nevada or Texas, each with no state income tax.
Tax incentives (instead of tax penalties) have time and again shown that the empowered individual and the entrepreneurial nature which he harnesses are the most effective tools to bring about economic growth and financial health. California would do well by heeding to one of its greatest son’s prolific advice:
“I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.” “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”
Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004)
It would be wise for the California governor and state senators to read their state motto (“Eureka”) and in it recognize that the solution to their state’s woes has already been found, tried and proven. All they need to do is act on it.
* * * * *
We welcome your comments and suggestions, either directly inline, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to have your article published in Naked Liberty, please contact the editor at the above email address.
I was fortunate recently to receive a gift from a close friend of a marvelous work of biographical documentary by Lou Cannon, an authority on the life and work of Ronald Reagan. The illustrated portfolio of Reagan’s contributions to America is truly an inspiring piece of literature, as well as a powerful historical reference of his accomplishments. The accompanying audio CD containing excerpts of his speeches, including the famous “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Berlin speech of June 12, 1987, is a stimulating flashback to the times when American strength and influence was able to change the world in dramatic ways.
Moving page by page through this exceptional work one finds it difficult to not return in one’s mind to the culminating years of the 20th century and remind oneself of the edge of the precipice on which the world stood in those days. The escalating arms race between the USSR and the United States was truly the one event in world history which, had it not been ultimately conquered, might have lead to our annihilation; the end of our civilization and as a human race.
Our options were limited but remarkably clear. Succumbing to the influence of Soviet domination would have changed, and indeed destroyed our way of life as a free society. This was not an acceptable option. Movements to appease the Soviet aggressor were growing, emanating both from within the US and many countries with liberal-leaning democracies. Cries of “better dead than read,” the rallying cry of anti-communist forces within the US were being elsewhere reversed, and “better red than dead” was increasingly heard around the world. It seemed as if the US was the last and only obstacle to the Soviet’s imposition of their social and economic order on the world. Yet still many around the world naively believed that, if only left alone and not challenged, the Soviet Union would necessarily do the same and retreat to its ancient borders and withhold further communist encroachment into their countries.
Reagan, however, saw this as it truly was – a war of ideas where in the end there had to be a victor and there had to be a defeated. He stated it very clearly – “Peace is so easy to achieve. I can give it to you in one second. All you have to do is surrender.”
The war had to be won. The consequences of anything other than victory were unthinkable. Astute in recognizing the perfectly aligned circumstances of the support of Pope John Paul II, the Solidarity uprising in Poland, and an opening presented by a slightly more realistic than his predecessors General Secretary Gorbachev, Reagan fearlessly confronted the Soviet regime and at the perfect moment dealt the final blow. His words of defiance against the Soviet empire, like a match, lit the fire of counter revolution throughout Eastern Europe, and the Soviet regime soon collapsed of its own weight and inability to defend its flawed ideals.
With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, most of the countries previously under its communist vice have since become prosperous market societies, and the American principles of freedom and liberty spread widely across these newly emerging free market democracies. Reagan left behind a legacy of a world much safer and economically viable. Bells of liberty and freedom had been made to ring louder and clearer than ever before. With his legacy we were also reminded of the power of liberty over tyranny and conviction over appeasement.
And here we are, no more than 20 years later faced with circumstances ominously similar to those during Reagan’s presidency. Though there may no longer be a Soviet Union, yet today’s Russia is increasingly becoming emboldened to act with the same dictatorial patterns as the Bolsheviks of half a century years ago. Socialism (or in reality a contorted and deformed version thereof) has been adopted by a number of dictatorial regimes like Venezuela’s Chavez and is spreading to other countries not far from our doorstep (Honduras). Islamic terrorism continues to be an unresolved threat and in fact may be strengthening its roots across the world.
But this time the United States lacks the leadership and conviction it did during the Reagan presidency. Indeed, our ideological infrastructure has been so severely infected with socialist principles and ideology that we cannot even be certain whether we are opposed to the progressive encroachment of hard core collectivism and government control into our way of life. Voices of mainstream political figures uttering words such as “we must accept the increased role of government in our lives” and “it takes a village to raise a child” all point to our increasing acceptance of government as a paternal figure in our lives. This is in complete conflict with our founding principles. It repaints our country with an ideology that is foreign to the core of our beliefs and in many ways invalidates the experiment that had created our country in the first place.
It is important to understand the chain of events that the world socialist envisions. It begins at an individual and national level, where the abandonment of personal liberties leads to the socialization of the society within the respective nation. Once enough individual societies have succumbed to the socialist ideology, this in turn becomes the seed toward globalized socialism, where individual nations forgo their national individuality and interests for the benefit of the global order.
While troubling within the context of our nation, the ramifications on the future of our world are extremely profound. If America is absorbed into the “community” defined by the world-wide socialist agenda, its leadership role will cease, leaving the world to be led by a dysfunctional conglomerate of nations. As evidenced by the total ineffectiveness of the United Nations, the resulting inaction at a global level can be nothing less than terrifying.
Imagine a world without leadership, with the United States playing an equal partner role with all other countries of the world. A true “to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities.” Equal sharing of all resources. No conflict. No wars. No boundaries.
Utopia, you say? I say absolutely. Then I add. No food. No progress. No innovation. No invention. No individual – only the collective.
To create a world society which completely uproots and ignores the basics of the human behavioral DNA is excellent material for science fiction, but in the real world it is folly. By natural law man strives to become more than what he is. He does so because he anticipates this will improves his life. When he does, by so doing, he contributes to the progress of society.
Man is flawed (thank our Creator for that) and desires more than what he needs. And greed is as much a part of his character as is his need to breathe. Man is also benevolent, and once his needs are generally met, he gladly shares of his goods, first with family, then with others of his choosing.
You can no more remove these traits from man than you can make him refuse food or water. To remove them is to devoid him of the desire to create and improve.
The United States is at the crossroads of determining the shape of its future. While the socialist agenda has been active here for the better part of the 20th century (Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal), at no time has the pace of radical change been so rapid as during the first 9 months of Barack Obama’s presidency. As if realizing that inconvenient truths must sooner or later catch up with his agenda, the breakneck speed of socialist reforms undertaken by him are intended to reach as far as possible before the electorate realizes the consequences of his actions.
With each such reform the relevance of the individual fades further and the objective of the statist is closer to being realized.
While no credible single leader has emerged in opposition to this agenda, the electorate is clearly catching on and beginning to establish beachheads in pushing back on many of the reforms. But the voice of a leader in the tradition of Ronald Reagan is yet to be heard. When he/she emerges, the battle will extend to winning back the statist’s gains and aiming our attention on the world stage, where America’s leadership desperately needs to be reestablished.
The United States has earned the right to be the dominant nation. It has done so by succeeding where others have failed, by creating a society and system of government which recognizes and aligns with man’s desire for freedom and liberty. By so doing it has created great prosperity and a standard of living for its citizens unmatched throughout the world. It has earned the right to lead because of its benevolence toward less prosperous nations, having provided more positive influence and material support for them than any other country and, in fact, more than all other nations under the United Nations banner.
Now our future is far from clear, our destiny far from being secure. The strength and effect of the mounting opposition to Barack Obama’s agenda will determine how far our nation swings in the direction of collectivism and how reversible (if at all) these effects will be. What is at stake is nothing less than the heart of our national identity, the principles of our 200+ year old democracy and the success of the experiment that is the United States of America.
Will history show the era of Ronald Reagan to be just a temporary relapse in the statist’s march toward the eventual imposition of socialist order upon the world? Or will it serve as a lasting testament of the power of conviction and the strength of our ideals that we once again now need to exhibit in defense of our liberty, freedom and national identity?
The answer may very well determine the course of our next 200 years as either Americans or as citizens of the world.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Article may be published with attribution and must include trackback information