Should America Bid Farewell to Exceptional Freedom?

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin gave this speech on March 31st:

Last week, on March 21st, Congress enacted a new Intolerable Act. Congress passed the Health Care bill – or I should say, one political party passed it – over a swelling revolt by the American people. The reform is an atrocity. It mandates that every American must buy health insurance, under IRS scrutiny. It sets up an army of federal bureaucrats who ultimately decide for you how you should receive Health Care, what kind, and how much…or whether you don’t qualify at all. Never has our government claimed the power to decide when each of us has lived well enough or long enough to be refused life-saving medical assistance.

This presumptuous reform has put this nation … once dedicated to the life and freedom of every person … on a long decline toward the same mediocrity that the social welfare states of Europe have become.

Americans are preparing to fight another American Revolution, this time, a peaceful one with election ballots…but the “causes” of both are the same:

Should unchecked centralized government be allowed to grow and grow in power … or should its powers be limited and returned to the people?

Should irresponsible leaders in a distant capital be encouraged to run up scandalous debts without limit that crush jobs and stall prosperity … or should the reckless be turned out of office and a new government elected to live within its means?

Should America bid farewell to exceptional freedom and follow the retreat to European social welfare paternalism … or should we make a new start, in the faith that boundless opportunities belong to the workers, the builders, the industrious, and the free?

We are at the beginning of an election campaign like you’ve never seen before!

We are challenged to answer again the momentous questions our Founders raised when they launched mankind’s noblest experiment in human freedom. They made a fundamental choice and changed history for the better. Now it’s our high calling to make that choice: between managed scarcity, or solid growth … between living in dependency on government handouts, or taking responsibility for our lives … between confiscating the earnings of some and spreading them around, or securing everyone’s right to the rewards of their work … between bureaucratic central government, or self-government … between the European social welfare state or the American idea of free market democracy.

What kind of nation do we wish to be? What kind of society will we hand down to our children and future generations? In the coming watershed election, the nature of this unique and exceptional land is at stake. We will choose one of two different paths. And once we make that choice, there’s no going back.

This is not the kind of election I would prefer. But it was forced on us by the leaders of our government.

These leaders are walking America down a new path … creating entitlements and promising benefits that model the United States after the European Union: a welfare state society where most people pay little or no taxes but become dependent on government benefits … where tax reduction is impossible because more people have a stake in the welfare state than in free enterprise … where high unemployment is accepted as a way of life, and the spirit of risk-taking is smothered by a tangle of red tape from an all-providing centralized government.

True, the United States has been moving slowly toward this path a long time. And Democrats and Republicans share the blame. Now we are approaching a “tipping point.” Once we pass it, we will become a different people. Before the “tipping point,” Americans remain independent and take responsibility for their own well-being. Once we have gone beyond the “tipping point,” that self-sufficient outlook will be gradually transformed into a soft despotism a lot like Europe’s social welfare states. Soft despotism isn’t cruel or mean, it’s kindly and sympathetic. It doesn’t help anyone take charge of life, but it does keep everyone in a happy state of childhood. A growing centralized bureaucracy will provide for everyone’s needs, care for everyone’s heath, direct everyone’s career, arrange everyone’s important private affairs, and work for everyone’s pleasure.

The only hitch is, government must be the sole supplier of everyone’s happiness … the shepherd over this flock of sheep.

Am I exaggerating? Are we really reaching this “tipping point”? Exact and precise measures cannot be made, but an eye-opening study by the Tax Foundation, a reliable and non-partisan research group, tells us that in 2004, 20 percent of US households were getting about 75 percent of their income from the federal government. In other words, one out of five families in America is already government dependent. Another 20 percent were receiving almost 40 percent of their income from federal programs, so another one in five has become government reliant for their livelihood.

It continues. I urge every American to read the entirety of the article and ask yourself the rhetorical questions posed in it. Paul Ryan is a smart man- he had Obama on his toes at the Health Care Summit  and he’s the one who exposed the deceitful gimmicks used by the Democrats to get the answer they wanted from the CBO. I don’t agree with everything in Rep. Ryan’s proposed solution, but he is right that we are at the tipping point, where we have a choice between a nation built on individual freedom and a nation hanging from the precarious limb of government support. We are approaching the end of an era, and it’s up to all of us to decide what the future will look like.

I, for one, choose freedom.

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ObamaCare Has Not Won Yet

Supporters of the Democrats’ health care bill may think that now that it’s been signed into law, it’s safe from further attack. Don’t be too sure.

Many elements of this bill are of questionable constitutionality, the most notable of which being the “Individual Mandate.”
This mandate is entirely unprecedented. Never before has Congress mandated that private individuals agree to a contract with another private entity just because they’re alive. Certainly, the purchase of a car is mandated to coincide with the purchase of car insurance. However, the purchase of a car is understood by past courts to be a form of commerce, which falls under the “Commerce Clause” of the US Constitution. Thus, the real question at hand is this: is the non-purchase of health insurance a form of “commerce” that can be regulated under the Commerce Clause? If the power isn’t specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, the 10th Amendment can, and will, be applied to deem it unconstitutional.

Some less-informed Democratic Congressmen have also tried to justify the mandate under the “General Welfare Clause.” However, this clause only states that Congress may “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises” to provide for the general welfare. It does not state that Congress may force private individuals to make contracts, and it actually specifies that all taxes laid by Congress “shall be uniform throughout the United States,” making the use of tax as punishment of those without health insurance entirely unconstitutional.

So is this “Individual Mandate” unconstitutional? I certainly think so. I think it’s only a matter of time before it, along with other questionable components, are struck down in the Supreme Court.

In a World Where the Government Provides Health Care to Everyone, Nobody Gets Abortions

Liberals and socialists across the country are celebrating their victory in the passing of this health care legislation. It may not be exactly what they wanted, but it’s a first step towards nationalized health care. But what if they had gotten that final goal in this piece of legislation? What if this had been the legislation that created a national health care plan which enrolled everyone?

Well, if that had been the case, then I say that nobody but the rich would be getting abortions in this country from here on out.

See, in order to pass this legislation, Obama had to make a deal with anti-abortion Democrats:

In the late afternoon, he made the decision to take one more chance. He agreed to issue an executive order declaring that the healthcare measure would not change the existing ban on federal funding for abortions. That brought over Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), leader of the last Democratic holdouts, even though the order risked infuriating some of Obama’s most important supporters.

In all their lust for a national health care plan, liberals seem to fail to realize that when the government controls the funding for a service, they control that service, and they get to decide what services are provided. When the government controls health care, all abortions will be paid for out-of-pocket.

You see, an unintended effect of all this progressivism is that the more dependent we become on the government to provide our needs, the more control the government will have over our lives. The more they pay for us, the more decisions they can make for us. This is always true.

And so I make a plea to every citizen in this country:

Do you want to give the government that kind of power over all of our lives?

Barack Obama: CEO in Chief

Is this a country or a corporation? It’s getting hard to tell. This new price controls proposal, coupled with H.R. 4173, which would give the president the power to liquidate any company deemed “too big to fail,” would make this a Corporatist (a.k.a. economically Fascist) State. This would be the totalitarian dystopia cautioned against in “Atlas Shrugged.” Is it any wonder that Ayn Rand’s books are selling better than ever before?

It is this sort of totalitarianism which has galvanized the public against the Democrat Party. It is this sort of totalitarianism which has swelled the numbers of the Libertarian Party in opposition, and given the Republican Party a new life.

Do you value your freedom? Do you want to avoid living in a totalitarian state? If so, then I suggest you drop any support you may have for “progressivism.” The newly reformed, libertarian Glenn Beck is right: progressivism is a cancer which eats away at our basic, constitutionally guaranteed freedoms as it grows. The only thing we’re progressing towards when we surrender power over our lives to the government is totalitarian slavery.

A Right to Welfare?

Now that I’ve explained why humans have rights and what those rights are, I figure it’s a good time to address the claims that humans have “a right” to health care, or “a right” to food, or to anything else they need to survive.

If something is a human right, then it is inherent to human individuals, not a function of whatever government you have, or where you live. I have the same rights in Ethiopia as I do in the US, though whether or not the governments of those countries respect your human rights is a different matter entirely. Whether I live in the US, Ethiopia, North Korea, China, or even on a deserted island, I am still a human with the same human rights.

You can make the claim that if someone denies you health care, then they’re violating your rights. But let’s do a thought experiment to evaluate that claim. Say you’re in a plane crash and end up on a deserted island. Suddenly you’re deprived of food, clean drinking water, and most certainly health care. Does this mean the plane crash is violating your rights? Is nature violating your rights? It sounds pretty silly, but that’s exactly what you’re saying if you think that everyone has an inherent right to be given everything they need to survive.

Now, let’s say you run into another survivor on the island. You find out this survivor just happens to have been a doctor back home. How convenient this is, since you were starting to feel a little under the weather. So now, because you have a right to health care, he is obligated to take care of you, even if it means taking time away from his own survival efforts. In fact, he probably would be better off had he not been a doctor, because then he wouldn’t be forced to act as primary care physician in the midst of a survival situation.

Conveniently, this doctor also happens to know how to fish. He could teach you how, but even if he did, you wouldn’t really have to do anything, because you have a right to food. Hence, even if you choose not to find a way to provide for yourself, he is required to give you some of the fish he catches, or he’ll be violating your rights.

So you see, if you have a right to health care, or even food, then you have a right to force others to work for your own well-being; it is within your rights to enslave others. And this same concept applies if you scale up the situation to an entire country using redistributive welfare, the only difference being that it’s much harder to rebel against this enslavement when there’s a police force and military enforcing it. Saying that humans have a “right” to health care and a “right” to food or to any other material possession violates every notion of what a “right” actually is. It violates the premise that rights are inherent to all humans, and that all humans have equal rights.

Humans do not have rights to make sure every person has everything they need to survive, regardless of the choices they make. Humans rights are there to define what it means if we believe that “all men are created equal.” Humans can only be equal if they are free from being enslaved by others. You cannot force someone to take care of you and still say that you are treating them as your equal. Thus, forced welfare redistribution is in fact a violation of the truly fundamental human right to be free from enslavement.

Derivation of Rights

After posting my views of what the natural rights of humans are way back at the start of this blog, I’ve had a couple of people ask me where these rights come from, if not from the government. Here’s a simplified description of the logical progression of my thoughts.

In any logical derivation, there must be some starting point, some axiom off of which everything can be based. I feel that the sentiments and scenarios that fueled the rhetoric of Thomas Jefferson to be an excellent place to begin, as few contemporary individuals would argue in favor of the arbitrary power of kings.

If you start with the premise that “all men are created equal,” then it logically follows that no person’s will should dominate anyone else’s will. A person’s will can be used to shape the world around them, so that which is produced by a person from resources claimed by no other person must therefore be an extension of that person’s will, and is under that person’s control. Hence, the premise of property rights is established, including the right of control over your own body. If it is within the will of one person to agree with another person to coordinate the use of their property, this is a valid exercise of their wills so long as no other person whose person or property may be affected objects to it. This establishes the right to form contracts.

However, violation of another person’s will or control over their property is not consistent with the premise that one person’s will should not dominate another person’s will. Hence, this kind of action should not be allowed, and should be corrected to the greatest degree possible to reestablish the equality of the will of the offender with the will of the victim. This establishes the necessity for a criminal justice system and a military. This premise also establishes the view that forcible imposition of contract, deceptive imposition of contract, and violation of contract are violations of rights, and should be illegal.

Hence, we arrive at the conclusion that forcible imposition of any program by the government, aside from those which explicitly exist only to protect the rights of all, is a violation of rights and should be illegal in any society which considers all people to be equal. Hence, in a society where people are truly considered to be equal, government would consist only of a legislative system to interpret the guaranteed rights in terms of real-world laws, a military to defend the rights of the people from external threats, a police force to defend the rights of the people from internal threats, and a judicial system to determine the appropriate action necessary to correct any violation of rights and prevent repeat offenses.

No currently existing society truly respects the equal rights of the people. The two-party system we have here in the U.S. alternates between favoring the will of one group of people and favoring the will of the other group of people, calling this equal rights. I call that a sad attempt at justifying abuses of power.

What is Fascism?

Thanks to Hitler, the word “fascism” has been demonized beyond recognition. This is a good thing in that people will rarely knowingly support fascism. This is a bad thing in that most people will support it anyways, not realizing that what they’re supporting is fascism.

In Mussolini’s own words, fascism is “organized, centralized, authoritarian democracy.” It is the belief that the State represents the will of “the people,” and that the will of “the people” always trumps the will of the individual. This is what allowed the horrors of fascism to occur: the belief that majority election creates a government that should be absolute in its power, and totalitarian in its reach.

Mussolini believed in the Corporate State. Contrary, to popular belief, the term “Corporate” used in this sense doesn’t specifically refer to corporations, though corporations usually play the major roles in the Corporate State. The name actually derives from the idea of the state being a single “corporis,” or body, comprised of entities which act as the organs of the body, performing the necessary functions for its survival. Mussolini saw the corporations producing cars, the health care industry providing its services, the farmers, etc., as entities working for the well-being of the people of the State, and hence the State. If any of these organs should fail, he felt, then the people within the State, and hence the State, would lose their capability to dominate nature, and would thus fail.

To believe any entity within the State as necessary to the survival of the State or Nation is to adopt the economic principles of fascism. To view the State as necessary to ensure the survival of corporations by controlling their aims is to adopt the economic principles of fascism. Again, Mussolini says it best:

The Ministry of Corporations is not a bureaucratic organ, nor does it wish to exercise the functions of syndical organizations which are necessarily independent, since they aim at organizing, selecting and improving the members of syndicates. The Ministry of Corporations is an institution in virtue of which, in the centre and outside, integral corporation becomes an accomplished fact, where balance is achieved between interests and forces of the economic world. Such a glance is only possible within the sphere of the state, because the state alone transcends the contrasting interests of groups and individuals, in view of co-coordinating them to achieve higher aims. The achievement of these aims is speeded up by the fact that all economic organizations, acknowledged, safeguarded and supported by the Corpo­rative State, exist within the orbit of Fascism; in other terms they accept the conception of Fascism in theory and in practice. (speech at the opening of the Ministry of Corporations, July 31, 1926, in Di­scorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 250).

And so I charge that Barack Obama’s policies stink of fascism. From his bailout and buyout of major corporations that he felt were “too big to fail,” to his attempts to regulate the health care industry as an arm of the State, Barack Obama’s belief in his right to take away individual liberties because of a “democratic mandate” is absolutely fascist.

As a libertarian, I stand opposed to such a conception of society. I stand as a man and an individual, independent of the will of the State. Unlike the State, individuals are self-sufficient. I do not exist as a component of the State. Rather, the government should only exist to protect my independence and the independence of others. No individual or group should have the power to take away my existence as an individual, and they certainly do not have the right.