BY FRANK SALVATO – “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – President Gerald R. Ford, in an address to a joint session of Congress, August 12, 1974.
There can be little doubt that the electorate, going into the 2012 General Election, is the most politically and ideologically divided since the US Civil War. To that end, the candidates offered in this election provide a political and ideological contrast that I don’t believe our country has ever experienced. Unlike during the US Civil War where there were several pressing issues that divided our nation – chief among them slavery and interstate economic issues, today there is really only one question at the core of every issue; which presents as a very simple choice. And as much as I dislike saying so, in today’s “high self-esteem/low actual knowledge” society, the simpler the question to be decided the better.
At the conclusion of the first 2012 Presidential Debate, two notions struck me. First, it was obvious that a much more jaded and aggressive Barack Obama would be showing up for “round two.” Alinsky-school Chicago politicians – especially ones who were weaned on a steady diet of unwarranted self-esteem coddling and affirmative action advancement – do not take kindly to getting humiliated on a national and/or international stage. To put it kindly, Mr. Romney handed Mr. Obama his derrière on a platter on October 3rd. That is not the “international fare” Mr. Obama is used to receiving, if you follow.
But secondly, and more importantly, what struck me is that on each and every issue addressed – and I am going to rightly assume this to be true for the remaining debates – a clear choice regarding one overriding question was presented for voters to make at the ballot box: Do you choose ever-expanding government or limited government.
To put it another way, do you: a) want a federal government that deeply roots itself into your everyday life, that diminishes the localized power of the State governments, that exercises the advancement of social engineering and literally has something to do with every aspect of your life creating an adherent and dependent populace, or b) want a government that honors the limitations set forth by the US Constitution, that creates a color, gender and religiously blind atmosphere of opportunity for all, that empowers the ingenuity and creativity of the individual while nurturing the development of personal responsibility, creating a strong, successful, resilient and unique nation?
But then I said I was going to present a simple question, for those affected by the constriction of the “high self-esteem/low actual knowledge” society in which we currently exist.
Do you want more government or less government? Do you want government telling you what you can and cannot; will and won’t do? Or do you want a government that safeguards our rights while respecting our individual freedoms? Honestly, no matter what the issue, this simple question applies.
If we are talking about the economy, the question applies. Do you want more government or less government? During the debate, as Mr. Obama tried to paint Mr. Romney as a anarchical Capitalist, Mr. Romney stated, and rightly so, that the free marketplace indeed does need regulation and/or government oversight. In fact, even the Founders and Framers understood that to have an orderly society there must be rules (read: regulations). In a Constitutional Republic, such as our nation is, government is supposed to go to great lengths to protect both the rights of all and especially the rights of the minority. Therefore, government regulation establishing rules that protect both the buyer and the seller – regardless of the product (be it financial, service oriented or physical) – is a necessity.
Today, we have a behemoth federal government with so many regulatory agencies that if you are a small business owner or a corporation – or for that matter, an individual; trying to interact with your government – it is almost impossible to understand which regulations must be adhered to or which agencies provides oversight. Just set your child up out at the curb with a lemonade stand and see how fast he or she is shut down because they haven’t acquired the proper permits.
Do you want more government or less government?
When it comes to the singular issue of healthcare (read: Obamacare) the same question applies. Is health insurance reform badly needed? You bet! But two of the biggest problems that we actually needed our government to address – the dismantling of barriers that keep insurance companies from offering policies over State lines (thus promoting competition, which in every historical case of commerce has lowered costs and elevated quality of product) and tort reform – were left unaddressed by our lawmakers (some would say the union lawyers that crafted the legislation for Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid) in deference to special interest groups (read: the trial lawyers and the insurance companies themselves). So, where a small application of government meant to protect the rights of the minority (in this case the public) from the unfair business practices of special interest groups was indeed warranted, what we were forced to accept was a giant dose of government in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that not only set the stage for a federal takeover of the health insurance industry in the ultimate pursuit of a single-payer system currently in shambles across the European Continent.
Do you want more government or less government?
On the social issues, we exist in a culture where government has chosen to socially engineer in a way that caters to a specific ideology – the Progressive ideology. Thus, because the federal government is catering to what is essentially a powerful activist and ideologically slanted special interest group of elitist oligarchs, the rights of the minority, or, in this case, the rights of the non-elected majority, are ignored; violated, and unconstitutionally so. Each American has personal thoughts about these issues, some rooted very deeply and religiously. The role of government in the cultivation of a societal norm on the overwhelming majority of these issues – sans the issues where life and death are concerned – is to guard the individuals’ rights to express themselves so that an honest and informative dialogue can take place in a quest for common ground. Today, we do not have the right to have that open and honest dialogue with our fellow Americans, that right denied by a government that is deciding what is “politically correct” and what is verboten.
Do you want more government of less government?
On the issue of taxes, budgets and debt, an ever-expanding federal government, charged by the Progressive social engineers in elected office – and in the ensconced bureaucracies – demands to be fed more and more taxpayer dollars so that it can “provide for the common good.” The only problem with this notion is that political opportunists and professional politicians continue to edit the definition of “common good” to include programs and initiatives that expand the authority of government into our daily lives, ignoring the limits that the US Constitution has set for governmental authority. The result of this expansion is ever-increasing taxation, the increasing need for borrowed revenue and an almost yearly piece of legislation that increases the debt limit, because to not do so would “shut down the federal government,” don’t you know.
Additionally, these politically opportune fiscal reprobates use taxpayer dollars in increasing fashion to dole out “voter incentives” like “free” birth control and “free cell phones” to the entitlement class.
Do you want more government or less government?
I could go on and on and on, touching on each and every issue before the American electorate this election cycle: foreign policy and nation building, gay marriage and hate speech, conservation, energy, the right to life and the right to death, each is affected – directly – by the question: Do you want more government or less government.
So, this election, arguably the most important election of our lifetime, this question is paramount and, in fact, the only question that should determine your choice at the ballot box. This election cycle, the choice you make at the ballot box is too important to be so intellectually stunted as to be a single-issue voter. The choice you make determines whether you live in country of liberty, where individuals are free to pursue their happiness via an avenue of equal opportunity for all, or a country where your freedoms are limited for “the common good.”
For me, the choice is clear.
To borrow the sentiment from a phrase espoused by Patrick Henry during the American Revolution,
“The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
The Neoliberal ideology of Romney/Ryan is based on the "Tornado In A Junkyard" theory of economics. They say that all we have to do is allow the whirlwind of unrestricted and deregulated marketplace activity to storm through society, and in its wake will be left a perfect utopia of freedom, peace, and prosperity for all. This is insanity. The "Pure Capitalism" that these true believers endorse only accelerates the process of wealth accumulation at the very top, as we have seen wealth inequality skyrocket since the neoliberal "Reagan Revolution" of 1980. And with tremendous inequality the poor cry out for Justice, prompting the growth of Big Government. The dominance of Big Business goes hand-in-hand with the growth of Big Government. This is a proven fact from history and indeed how can it be any other way? The Republican agenda of "Maximum Freedom for Markets and Merchants!" coupled with "Down With Big Government!" is socially schizophrenic! The Market and the State are inextricably linked and they always have been. Our nation is simply living out the warning given in the New Testament in 2 Peter 2:19, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." Yes, let's move against the terrifying trend of more and more power being concentrated in the Federal Government. I absolutely agree with that! But more neo-liberalism is NOT the way to do it.
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