Obama the Destroyer

Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech tonight as he is crowned once again the Democratic Party’s choice to run for President. Unlike Romney, whose deepest principles remain hidden underneath a veneer of wholesomeness, sincerity, and confusion, we know Obama’s root inclinations. They run counter to nearly everything this country was founded upon.

First, let me stipulate that we can make the choice to abandon the principles of the Founders. Ideas are not good because they are old and they are not bad because they are new. We often progress as a species based on new understandings of what it means to be a good human being. The abandonment of public floggings and raccoon coats comes to mind. We can also regress, as we often do when our misguided sentiments steer us toward useless foreign wars, dubious domestic programs, and tattoos numbering in the dozens.

Should we decide that individual liberty, the core premise of our nation’s founding, was a bad idea, we have our man. He already resides at the White House. As the ever-eloquent George Will notes today, Barack Obama is the latest incarnation of a series of Presidents who have found the constraints of our Constitution too bothersome to mind. Destroying those fetters is part and parcel of his intellectual heritage of political philosophy.

Starting with Woodrow Wilson, there emerged an idea that government’s primary function was to perfect man, not protect his liberty. FDR followed suit and a long, steady drift toward government-as-architect started. Government became the guiding hand for society with the heady conviction that it could make things so, so much better for everyone by “granting” rights to the people in service of the ideals promulgated by government.

This is certainly one way to run a country, but it is not the Founders’ way. The Founders based our system of government on the unshakable conviction that an individual’s rights exist before any government is formed. Governments are instituted to protect rights that already exist, not grant rights through their own beneficence. The last 100 years have seen the near-complete destruction of that ideal in favor of Obama’s vision of a state that takes care of us all whether we want it or not.

Obama’s creepy certainty that He holds the key to our happiness leads Him to dismiss any objection to the Leviathan state as the rantings of a crank. And so his unleashing of the power of the Executive Order, by now well-documented. Wilson would be proud at Obama’s audacity, but it has nothing to do with hope. It has everything to do with the destruction of individual rights via the power of the state.

Look at the content of Democrats’ campaign messages. Or perhaps “tirades” would be a better word. Every phrase invokes a sense that government is the glue that binds us together, not our natural inclinations to help one another voluntarily. The individualist is no longer a hero who benefits others through his/her independence, but a troublemaker who won’t play fair. The Democrats assure us that they want government to have our backs, but they are leading us there by our, well, not backs.

Lamely, Romney and Ryan offer us an alternative. Theirs is an awkward dalliance with individual liberty, not a spirited defense of it. To the degree that they identify Obama as a genuine threat to the future of freedom in this country, they are useful. Like naming a disease, though, showing people what Obama is only starts the process of healing. We need to hear what R&R have in mind to restore genuine liberty.

For the starry-eyed liberals who actually want Obama back in office, I can only say that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. What now appears to be a convenient and quick way to your social ideals will look much less attractive when the same power of Executive Orders and the edicts of self-righteous bureaucrats are used against you. A tyrant is no less a tyrant when he/she happens to agree with you. The method makes the tyrant. Remember that when you go to the polls.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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