Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Diminishing Returns

 Our nation was founded on the principle of preserving individual liberty and individual freedoms through a social contract.  That vision is eroding. Americans today are being born, not into a social contract, but into social servitude enforced by the power of the Federal Government. Our incomes are routinely raided and private property and personal privacy are empty concepts thrown around in vain attempt to convince ourselves they still exist.
I began thinking about writing this post after seeing commercials aired by the Democratic National Committee in response to Congressman Paul Ryan’s legislation to reform healthcare. The commercials depict the elderly or the disabled being murdered by an unidentified white male. The voice-over in the commercial infers that the white male is a Republican, who identifies with Congressman Ryan’s plan, and therefore there is no moral difference between murder and Congressman Ryan’s proposed legislation. Personally, I found the commercials so juvenile that I thought they were part of a comedy sketch. When I discovered the commercials were serious attempt at political dialogue, I wondered why anyone would take anything so devoid of intellectual foundation seriously.
 But people are taking the commercials seriously. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is the head of the Democratic National Committee. Her rhetoric in policy discussions matches the commercials. In short, Ms. Wasserman-Shultz contends that Republicans, i.e. fiscal conservatives, are proposing that, as a nation, we murder the old, the disabled, the weak, and any others who can fit into her narrative of fear. She also has spent time on the road declaring that Republicans are anti-woman – whatever that means.
I remember walking to work one day and a mentally unstable individual was standing on a street corner announcing to the world that the US Government, lead by the CIA, was trying to kill him. In my opinion, Ms. Wasserman-Shultz’s rhetoric is the same thing; paranoid and unsubstantiated ramblings about a broadly defined, nefarious group bent on murder. In this case, she is referring to Americans who are advocating for fiscal conservatism and reform of the entitlement state. Her catch phrase is, “they want to end medicare as we know it.”
It’s too bad the America “as we knew it” is ending. As a society, we have now placed the State above the individual and have reinforced this ideology through the election of strong, statist advocates.  Private property and personal privacy rights are quickly evaporating under the imperator of the “commonwealth” or national security. Kelo v. City of New London is a perfect example of private property being “taken” in the name social betterment. Kelo is an embarrassing extension of jurisprudential absurdity found in the New Deal era case, Wickard v. Filburn. In Wickard, perfectly legal behavior by a private citizen on his own land was supplanted because it ran contrary to the philosophy of the State.
It is Politicians like Obama and like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz who want Americans to rely on bloated, unaccountable, and poorly administrated government programs for their safety and security. They down play the role of the private sector and cast suspicion on for-profit entities.  And anyone who wants to reform or trim entitlement programs is morally equivalent to a murderer.  
 At some point, by necessity or opportunity, American politicians are going to have to a serious debate on reforming run away spending and entitlements in this country. But don't hold your breath. The votes-for-handouts machine still has some life in it. 

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