PJ Media

Who cares what presidents think?

I was just reading over Obama’s speech to be given to students tomorrow a href=”http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/”and started thinking about this passage:/abr /br /blockquoteSo today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country? /blockquotebr /br /This speech made me think back to a much quoted passage of Kennedy’s inaugural address,”Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” My question is “Why?” br /br /I would rather think that the words of Milton Friedman from his book a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226264211?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0226264211″span style=”font-style:italic;”Capitalism and Freedom/span /aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0226264211″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / make more sense: br /br /blockquoteThe paternalistic “what your country can do for you” implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man’s belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, ‘what you can do for your country’ implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors, and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served. br //blockquotebr /br /Government should be about helping us to protect our freedoms, not making us into wards who are to protect and serve our government. Obama’s remarks don’t make note of this. Maybe there is more to life than what future presidents think of us.