I know a young IT professional who becomes palpably dismayed when one of his clients actually purchases computer software. He insists there is usually a way to obtain it for free and, if not, one is better off with something else.
It is no wonder that President Barack Obama chose the European young before whom to perform his “town hall” magic last week. This is precisely the “free stuff” demographic he seeks. This crowd of European youth, entranced in Obama’s beautifully delivered induction, could see only the hand being held out. While the more aged can argue back and forth about the relative value of hard work, savings, building a future, and so forth, it is all inaudible to the young. While Napster may have failed, the Napster culture thrives across the globe. While elders debate capitalism vs. socialism, neo-socialism, and Marxism, the young are dreaming about how to get that new iPod for nothing without becoming queen first.
One young woman, Peggy Joseph, stated this demographic’s position perfectly following an Obama campaign speech. Crying from the excitement of the “historical” moment, she said, “This is what we have all been waiting for. I won’t have to worry about gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I … if I help him, he’s gonna help me.”
And help she did. Obama won the election by winning the under-thirty crowd and now he is taking that strategy abroad to community organize his “one-world order.” He is recruiting his global ACORN army with the embedded theme: more free stuff!
This is not completely new. Despite all moral imperatives, America has won its international position the old-fashioned way — it bought it! Using its lives, resources, hard work, and savings, it fought world wars on foreign soil, financed lofty Marshall Plans for “allies,” and finessed coups to disrupt uncooperative governments. Problems with disgruntled or misbehaving territories? Send massive aid to buy compliance.
Despite all the cosmetics of “statecraft” and “diplomacy” and “soft power,” at its core America is the international granddaddy of free stuff! Much was built with hard work and savings. Much is given by elders out of goodness and by the young out of some sense of guilt. While the gifts keep coming America has a comfortable place. When they cease, world envy and its consequences — hatred, violence, tyranny — reappear.
Free stuff, however, has started to hurt America and Obama is taking it to new levels for even newer purposes. The Obama budget shows just how great this burden has grown. And, as consumers start expecting and demanding not to pay for their goodies, businesses regress or fail completely. Media, one of the most critical instruments in establishing and maintaining political power and order, is itself falling apart under the new demands of the young population as internet driven as it is. Entertainment and many other industries are desperately trying to develop workable models to manage through the free stuff culture. Bailouts managed in order to protect consumers from the consequences of their poor choices are draining society’s resources, perhaps irreparably.
Nothing more clearly states the subliminal, if not explicit, essence of Obama’s “change” than the promise of more free stuff. From health care to amnesty for illegal immigrants to pure wealth redistribution to bailouts, the Obama multi-trillion-dollar budget is nothing more than the old tactic of buying its way out of difficulties — regardless of principle. Much of the over-thirty crowd (which, in total, voted for McCain) tries to get a grip on what is now happening with formulaic discussion of socialist and capitalist merits. Embracing the patented Obama “cool” and “calm,” these dull attempts to simplify backfire as these words tend to mean very different things to different people. The young, however, do not have this difficulty as the international language of “free stuff” is easy to comprehend.
And presidential advisor David Axelrod is acutely aware of the value of this simple talk. While Rahm Emanuel hides in the chief of staff quarters maneuvering the census to maximize all means to get to the young and the illegal immigrants, others busily strategize what to give away to these international demographics so that a new thousand-year reign can be established.
Unfortunately, we cannot afford this for much longer and maintain what truly makes America great. Worse still, this appears precisely to be the goal of the Obama administration.