Why are there still some in the media, the general public, and especially on the Obama team inside and outside of government, who are surprised by the recent Obama scandals? It was only 32 years ago that the “Great Communicator,” President Ronald Reagan, said to everyone’s amusement, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
Is it no longer a “self-evident” truth that government’s nature is to become tyrannical? Did anyone really allow themselves to get so diluted, or so convinced by a silver-tongued nobody that he could be trusted? Recently, in fact, just before the scandals broke, President Obama addressed this Reaganesque American ideology during his Ohio State commencement address, in which he told the graduates:
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems…You should reject these voices.
If Barack Obama has taught us anything from Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the assaults on the press and their family members, then it is that we can’t trust government – not even Barack Obama. Americans, whom of which at one time found President Reagan’s comments to be a self-evident truth, have become less skeptical of government and too willing to ignore its dangers. How and when did this cultural transformation occur?
It has been quite sometime since I have offered a sheer opinion article for everyone to read. As fate and destiny would have it, I have recently finished my book, “Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract.” Of course, an article cannot possibly sum up an entire year-long project, but its relevance to the recent current events is unmistakable, and I forewarn the reader it will not be an easy pill to swallow. Nevertheless, I am going to tell both the right and left what this country desperately needs to hear.
If we were to be honest with each other, then we would have a conversation in this country about a complete dereliction of duty; and I am not talking about from the politicians. Citizens from the right, left and center, all have shirked our civic responsibilities to each other.
Conservatives are so lost in the mantra of “limited government” that they no longer know what it means, or how to achieve it. Limited government is not a means to liberty, it is an end. That is to say, there are always going to be a group of citizens who cannot meet their basic needs, and there most assuredly will always be politicians willing to promise that they will meet them. The difference between liberty and tyranny by popular support, or correctly termed “democratic despotism,” is little more than the vehicle a free society chooses to use in order to meet those needs.
Through government-centered solutions, there is no accountability or a sense of obligation to community to pursue personal growth, which is why government programs encourage dependency. Government social welfare programs have deeply influenced the American psyche by appealing to the very worst of human nature. This is diametrically opposed to the traditional American philosophy, which is one of a willingness to take “the road less traveled” for delayed gratification.
However, for many Americans, civil society is simply too weak to help them meet their needs, and they have little choice left but to turn to the government. Out of complete convenience, conservatives have been all too willing to allow government to do the hard work of our society, and government simply does not have the capacity that civil society does to promote responsibility and personal growth.
Studies published by the American Psychiatric Association have well established the connection between religious observation and happiness. The scientific evidence supports the vast amount of surveys conducted by Gallup, Pew Research and many others, which have found that American traditional values satisfy our natural human elements, or prerequisites to human happiness. They are conducive to the inhibition of personal growth. These principles apply to all humankind, which is why although the face of American society has changed, the successes of the American identity have not; we are all cut from the same spiritual clothe so to speak. The traditional American ideology instills a sense of civic duty and obligation, among other more healthy mental attributes, but it must be demonstrated through civil society – not government.
Progressivism, on the other hand, appeals only to those basic human needs, which are primal and prohibit personal growth when handed to us without an expectation that we will strive for betterment. It promises to relieve us of our obligation to each other, instead of encouraging us to fulfill obligation; its rhetoric may have a communal element, but in reality, is self-centered in nature and promotes the false promise that government can somehow offer a win-win solution with zero-sum resources.
But what other choice do our citizens have? We are a society that would rather give $1.00 to the inefficient government for the bureaucracy to then hand off .30 cents to a hungry neighbor, of course only after they take their cut. But we view it as a small price to pay for not having to trouble ourselves, now don’t we?
Our American identity is under attack, and the only defense is that natural territory between the citizen and the State – the community. As with any other territory, it must rely on virtuous individuals who are willing to take “the road less traveled” and defend it through the building of a strong civil society. Unfortunately, it has only been able to rely on the deeds of a few, and not just words alone. As a result, progressivism has been wildly successful at exploiting that primal human fear that comes from not meeting the needs of ourselves, our families, and our communities.
This is what Benjamin Franklin meant when he said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Either those in society who have the capacity also find the virtue to help others help themselves, or those promising politicians will exercise their “necessary and proper” power to do what we will not. Only a “corrupt and vicious” nation would allow such democratic despotism, and I refuse to believe that is “Our Virtuous Republic.”
– Richard D. Baris Peoples_Pundit
- Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause In The America Social Contract (richardbaris.wordpress.com)
- Critical Threats – Al Qaeda and its Affiliates in 2013 (richardbaris.wordpress.com)