Yes, We Can. But Do We Want To?
Asking the right questions about Barack Obama.
August 7, 2008 - 12:00 am
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
— C.S. Lewis
Can we adopt a more socialist approach to government and transform America into a state not of equal opportunity for individuals to create their own happiness, but a state where a nanny bureaucracy operates for the supposed “good” of its citizens?
Can we accept tyranny by a rainbow proletariat of minorities and special interest groups who wish to mandate permanent entitlements for themselves?
Can we, as Americans, vote to hand over a huge chunk of our national sovereignty to international consensus and global taxation?
Can we adopt the Marxist cause of the class struggle, the utopian fix for all that ills us, and become part of a unified coalition of socialist countries around the world, in the hope that mankind can find Obama’s “collective redemption”?
That’s not the question.
We’re Americans. We are our own government, and we, the electorate, decide what course we will take. No change whatsoever is necessary to effect our own national will. Our Constitution guarantees us this right through the ballot.
We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Always have been. Since the beginning.
Obama answers the wrong question with his now banal statement: Yes, we can.
Because the question before Americans has never been, Can we become socialists?
The real question, therefore, is: Do we want to?
And America’s answer, it would seem, is completely up for grabs at the moment, without a single ounce of certainty.
Media wants Barack-style change; voters are uncertain
Despite the bubble of inevitability that the Obama campaign and its in-the-tank media have blown around this candidate, he is slipping now in the polls. He was holding onto a scant lead prior to his grand foreign tour, but now even that is slipping away.
The inevitable candidate is anything but.
USA Today published a poll last week that showed Barack Obama actually trailing John McCain by four points, among likely voters. Obama still has a slight lead among all registered voters, but on most polls it’s within statistical-tie territory. In early June Obama had a nine-point lead. Now he’s ever so slightly up, statistically tied, or down, depending upon one’s choice of poll and how much additional error margin one allows for what pollsters are calling the Bradley Effect.
Not only is Obama slipping in the national polls, but he received no discernible bounce from his highfalutin, very expensive trip abroad. Candidate Obama used campaign funds to take himself, the press, and a retinue of 700 — count them, 700 — campaign aides, first class all the way, on a trip that was luxurious by any standard, and at a time when many Americans could not even afford a small summer vacation due to very high gas prices. Even the most cursory observer might wonder whether reliable American campaign contributors aren’t just a bit resentful over their hard-earned dollars being spent to rally Europeans, when Europeans cannot even vote here.
Rasmussen polling now indicates that half the American electorate sees press bias in favor of Obama, and a quarter of us have stopped trusting the media to paint a clear picture of the candidates. The press may indeed want Obama elected, but their overly favorable coverage, which may have aided Obama’s claim to the Democratic Party nomination, has now become a negative in the home-stretch general election. Viewers will now discount nearly every positive they hear regarding Obama, while giving extra weight to every good thing reported about McCain. That’s what bias does; it negatively influences weight given to its arguments.
Do we want a foreign policy rookie in wartime?
Despite the underreported fact that we have now all but won the Iraq War — the war Democrats prematurely declared lost — we are still at war. And, unfortunately, the stakes in our war against Islamo-fascism rise daily as Iran continues unabatedly defiant in its pursuit of nuclear weaponry.
We Americans can and do bicker interminably over domestic issues and sometimes get equally riled over foreign events, but on one thing we have a history of coming together in a unified spirit. That “thing,” of course, is a war against an aggressive enemy. When it comes to our national security, we are historically wont to give our wartime votes to experience, rather than face possible annihilation because of a leader who has not proven his ability to keep our children safe.
So, even though we certainly can choose Obama, the novice, to lead us through the perilous days ahead in this war, we may resoundingly choose not to do so.
Do we want to pay the UN-imposed global poverty tax?
Barack Obama’s single piece of signature legislation in his less-than-200-day tenure as a United States senator is quite revealing. Obama’s Global Poverty Act, which shows every sign of passing now, amply demonstrates this candidate’s ultimate priority issue.
At a time when real Americans are experiencing inflated gas prices, upsurges in food prices, record numbers of mortgage foreclosures, and an already-out-of-control national debt, which serves to drive the confidence in our currency down worldwide, the Democrat Congress quickly advances the Global Poverty Act and practically shoves it defiantly in taxpayers’ faces, so that their presidential candidate can claim he did something as a senator.
Basically, this law if enacted will force all future presidents to oversee and commit a full 0.7 percent of our national GDP to fighting global poverty, in keeping with United Nations expectations of prosperous countries — Western Europe and the United States.
Who is against helping the poor?
Certainly not Americans. The problem with the Global Poverty Act is that it utterly fails to take into account the actual amounts already contributed by Americans to fight poverty, not only abroad, but in our own country, where sadly some poverty does still exist.
In his groundbreaking and myth-defying book, Who Really Cares, Arthur C. Brooks explains why press attacks on American refusal to cave to the UN on this tax are based on flat-out lies and, therefore, wrong:
It is true that U.S. official development assistance (ODA), at about $10 billion, is only about a tenth of 1 percent of [American] GDP. However, this amount is accompanied annually by about $13 billion in other types of government assistance, and about $50 billion in remittances from private sources, including foundations, religious congregations, voluntary organizations, universities, corporations, and individuals. All in all, total American international aid comes to about 0.5 percent of GDP — approximately $200 per year/per American.
European charitable giving is practically nonexistent, according to Brooks’ exhaustive research on the subject, which he presumes is the reason Europeans fail to comprehend our national resistance to forced government taxation in this regard. Not only that, but Brooks also takes note of the fact that the $50 billion we voluntarily contribute to good deeds abroad represents a mere two percent of our overall charitable giving. We give the bulk of our charity to Americans.
So, can we fight global poverty? Of course, we can and already do. The question, then, is whether we want to be forcefully taxed to do it, or whether we wish to continue to do it our own way.
Do we want Obama’s the-government-always-does-it-better approach to federal governing?
As in many other Obama policy proposals, this man seems to believe that no matter what the issue, government does it better than individuals.
Whether it’s a politician telling a general how to fight a war, or telling a mother and father how to educate their children, or telling doctors how to treat illness, or telling businesses how to hire, Barack Obama favors the old socialist do-gooder model of trusting government over individuals.
As for me and my vote, we will steer clear of a candidate who favors this kind of “well-intentioned” tyranny. We already have too much of this for my taste. And I, like C.S. Lewis, consider this the very worst kind of tyranny there is, the kind that glorifies itself in self-congratulatory accolades for blatant busybody interloping.
And when it comes to electing a wartime president, there are three — and only three — genuine issues:
- Foreign policy strength,
- Foreign policy strength, and
- Foreign policy strength.
Can we elect Obama as our wartime president and nanny-state overseer?
Yes, we can, but I sure don’t want to. Do you?