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Monday, November 03, 2008

Which Direction 'Change'?

BY PAUL E. SCATES

"It is an unquestionable truth, that the body of the people in every country desire sincerely its prosperity. But it is equally unquestionable that they do not possess the discernment and stability necessary for systematic government. To deny that they are frequently led into the grossest of errors, by misinformation and passion, would be a flattery which their own good sense must despise." -- Alexander Hamilton (speech to Ratifying Convention of New York, June 1788)

You know this scenario: A husband and wife are on a trip, and they find themselves on a road that’s not mentioned in their directions. As most wives will tell you, the wife’s suggestion to turn back to the last highway on their directions is most often met with a response similar to, “No, let’s just keep going; surely we’ll run into something we recognize up ahead.”

Sometimes, the husband is right, and you run into a highway that’s listed on your directions or on your map. But let’s say you missed a turn, and are actually heading away from your desired destination? The longer you stay on that road, the farther you get from where you want to go.

On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, that’s the situation in which the United States finds itself. For almost two hundred years this nation enjoyed the most freedom and the greatest material prosperity of any nation in history. That prosperity is the result of free markets, the ‘capitalism’ that so many on the Left speak of so derisively. Those freedoms are the result of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, another object of scorn by many mindless and willfully ignorant would-be messiahs.

Funny, isn’t it, how people from outside the U.S. can see the benefits of our system so much clearer than many who have enjoyed that liberty and prosperity directly? Just the other day I heard an Englishman on a call-in radio show saying that the United States is “the most free, most prosperous and friendliest nation on earth.” He went on to chide the listening audience: “The U.S. is also the most capitalist nation on earth…do you think that’s some weird coincidence, people?” He continued, admonishing Americans to not throw away all that for the empty promises of a socialist nirvana. Having lived most of his life in the socialism of Great Britain, he knew of which he spoke.

When’s the last time you heard someone on the Left extol the virtues of this nation, without the obligatory listing of our failures and sins? Yes, we’ve made mistakes, including slavery…but we’ve remedied those mistakes. That’s the great promise of liberty: we have the ability to change our direction, to turn away from a bad destination and back towards the goal of “justice and liberty for all” that the Founding generation, in their wisdom, established. That will not be the case in a nation where government reigns supreme.

And make no mistake…a socialist system demands that government reigns supreme. History shows us that people will not willingly tolerate the material deprivation, political and social chaos and misery that the socialist system inevitably produces, so the government finds it “necessary” to remove most or all of their political liberty. Don’t believe me; you have the Internet: do even a brief search of “socialist nations” and see what you find.

What has socialism to do with this election, you ask? Barack Obama is an unrepentant, classical socialist. Yes, I believe his intentions are good…but so were those of Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, et al. The nations where these men (and others) became notorious for brutality, political oppression, social upheaval and dire poverty all wanted “change.” They had suffered at the hands of tzars, warlords and dictators, and welcomed the “change” offered by the socialist fantasy – equal sharing of the wealth, a classless society, etc. Too bad they weren’t privy to Winston Churchill’s famous maxim: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Without that wisdom to guide them, they bought into the noble-sounding fantasy that resulted in 100 years of misery, deprivation and oppression. That’s the same fantasy that Obama holds; that is the “fundamental transformation of this nation” he is talking about, albeit in veiled terms.

The noted author C.S. Lewis wrote: “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be and if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, ‘progress’ means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

For the past fifty years the United States has been on the wrong road. We, the people, have stood by an let politicians in both parties expand the scope and power of the federal government, exactly what Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al, warned us against. History’s lesson on this is indisputable: countries with all-powerful governments are inevitably places where poverty, oppression and human misery abound. It matters little what those governments call themselves – the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea, the “parliamentary democracy” of Zimbabwe, the Somali Democratic Republic, et al – when ‘government’ has autonomy, the people suffer.

Obama has already shown, in flashes, the willingness to dismantle the very Constitution that enabled him to rise to his position in the Senate, to denigrate those who disagree with him (Bush, McCain, Palin, et al) and to sic the dogs of government on those who have the gall to question his “spread the wealth” socialist fantasy (Joe the Plumber). Imagine what he might be and do with the power of the presidency behind him.

Obama is driving headlong down the road towards socialism, and many Americans are undiscerning enough to think we should follow. But to get to where we want this nation to be requires that we refuse to just charge ahead into the unknown, as he would have us do. We must turn around and go back to the Founding principles (individual liberty, open markets and, especially, limited government) that provided the greatest liberty and prosperity that mankind has ever known. The rest of the world recognizes the benefits that come from those principles; are we so foolish that we must lose our liberties and prosperity before we appreciate the system that provided them?


Formerly a liberal and an atheist, Paul E. Scates served as a Marine in Vietnam and is a lifelong student of American history, politics and culture. A former contributor to national website TooGoodReports.com, he writes his staunchly independent Conservative and informed Christian commentary for his fellow ordinary, working Americans, the “we, the people” who are ultimately responsible for preserving our Constitutional liberties.


2 comments:

Dr. Theo said...

Panem et circenses! It was the attitude that brought down the mighty Roman Empire and will likely be the demise of America as the founders envisioned it. We have steadily moved away from the constitutional principles that made us great (and blessed) and toward a sickening, selfish, cynical and avaricious what-can-I get-from-government hedonism.

The election tomorrow will determine the fate of our nation. I am not optimistic. Greed and envy will likely win the day and George Soros will become the de facto leader of what was once the free world.

Bob Ellis said...

Too true, Dr. Theo!

Bread and circuses, and don't bother me with serious stuff.

Don't bother me with irritating things like responsibility, civic duty and the like.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm praying God will be merciful once more, and give us better than we deserve.

If he does, we can't be lazy with it. We'll need to be hard at work on the business of re-educating the American people on the lost knowledge of what this country once meant and stood for. The days of taking for granted that it's known or understood are long, long, long over.

 
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