The celebration of the nation’s birthday led me back to the reading of the original texts of our democracy. The Constitution. The Declaration of Independence. The Federalist Papers. The Bill of Rights. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
It also propelled me toward contemporary works that analyze the current relationship of government to the exercise of personal liberty, between rights and responsibilities, and which discuss, sometimes at great length, the present state of relations between the great mass of the American people and their elected leaders.
All of this has led me, albeit reluctantly, to a powerful conclusion: Whether he realizes it or not, Barack Obama intends to make slaves of my children. [See political cartoons about Obama.]
This is not to say he wishes to deprive them entirely of their personal freedoms, subjecting them to be owned by others. Quite the contrary, in fact, for what he wants to do seeks to preserve the illusion of freedom. Nevertheless, in a very real sense, his obvious intention is to increase the burden of government to the point where it becomes a crushing weight upon them all.
Consider his recent redesign of the nation’s healthcare financing system, which rests upon the idea that everyone must purchase some form of health insurance or risk being fined or imprisoned. This is the coercive power of the state at its worst—something that is seldom seen in this country. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on healthcare.]
After all, we do not force people to work—even as a condition of receiving benefits from the state. We do not even force them to become citizens of the country before allowing them access to the social safety net. Nor, for we are a compassionate people, should we necessarily do so. Yet the president is now intent on forcing everyone to purchase health insurance, depriving them of any choice in the matter.
This, like it or not, is a form of slavery.
There is also his management—or mismanagement—of the U.S. economy. Running up the national debt to over $14 trillion—about equal to one year's GDP—Obama regards the approach of the debt limit as an opportunity for political gamesmanship and the time for a tax increase. And he shows no signs of stopping. He wants to spend, spend, and spend some more—unchecked by economic reality or, it appears at times, good sense. [See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]
The debt, and the inflation that is almost certain to follow, will destroy the value of what every parent has tried to build for their children and leave as a legacy. The payment of that debt, and the interest upon it, will approach levels once unfathomable—all of which will be placed upon the shoulders of our children and our grandchildren. They will, in turn, be forced to turn over the increasing portions of the fruits of their productivity to a federal bureaucracy that, after taking its cut, will be used to service the debt. This, too, is a form of slavery, where one man or group of men can lay claim to the product of an individual’s labors in order to satisfy a debt the individual does not owe.
It is a frightening development, one that needs to be talked about in blunt language. As Ronald Reagan famously said, freedom is always one generation away from extinction. The institution of slavery, whether overt—as it was in the antebellum South—or covert, as it will be if the flood of red ink coming from Washington washes our economic liberties away, is always to be resisted as a violation of the basic rights of man. Cards need to be put on the table and seen for what they are so that every American can understand what it as stake, free of the platitudes and sloganeering emanating from those who would cheerfully bring it upon us.