Sunday, June 28 2009
As the United States prepares to celebrate its 233rd year of independence, we are forced to take note of this dismaying reality: our new president is no friend of freedom. This isn't intended to be unfair, unproductive Barack-bashing. Instead, it is simply the culminating, irrefutable conclusion any observer comes to after evaluating his first six months in office. Allow me to explain.
American greatness was achieved through the unrelenting power of a free people pursuing their dreams. Whether it was Pilgrims in a hostile new world, teachers and farmers armed with muskets, pioneers facing a treacherous wilderness, inventors enduring setbacks, volunteers storming beaches, or citizens rushing into smoldering towers to save their fellow countrymen, the glory of America has never been defined by its government, but rather its people.
The American people have cured diseases, constructed skyscrapers, explored the ocean depths, and walked on the moon. And we did these things because we were free - free to create, free to innovate, and free to pursue goals once thought unimaginable by man. That is what has set this civilization apart.
Ours is a history marked by individualism, responsibility, and self-reliance...not government-reliance. Yet, all that seems lost on our 44th president who startlingly declared in his inaugural address, "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified."
To any fair-minded observers, those words should have resounded through the halls of our consciences and awakened us from the media-induced trance of Obama-obsession we might have been suffering. For these are not the words of individualism and self reliance. They are the siren song of government dependence that both belittles and underestimates the ingenuity and creativity of the American people in a way that would have appalled the Founding Fathers.
That's not to say that our forefathers didn't care about families making a decent wage, getting good healthcare, or having a happy retirement. To the contrary, they cared so much about those things that they offered up their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to bless us with the liberty necessary to earn them for ourselves.
But now the assumption of our political leadership is that we need the government to help us pay our mortgage, to find us jobs, to set our wages and salaries, to keep our businesses afloat, to give us healthcare, to pay our credit card debt, to finance our college tuition and to fund our retirement. And as we ignorantly shrug and submit to such a proposition, we are blind to the shadow of slavery that is creeping over us. As we foolishly screech about such things being our "rights," we drown out the sound of our own chains that are being fitted for us.
For when we accept the increased role of government that Obama proposes - one intended to prevent our failure - we necessarily grant it the power to prevent our success and prosperity. How?
In order to prevent the failure of its people, the American government must begin making decisions for them. They must begin controlling them. Give people freedom and they might screw up, invest poorly, or purchase the wrong product. So the government makes the decisions - they choose your healthcare plan, they choose your retirement investments, and they set your salary and wages.
Am I making this up? Look at the bank bailouts, the home mortgage bailouts, or the bailout of the auto industry. In each instance, the government steps in to prevent failure and then sets new rules, determines new interest rates, determines investments, determines product lines, takes over finances, and hires and fires officials at its will. The government usurps control - all in the name of protecting you.
Call it loans, call it restructuring, call it security, call it stabilization, call it compassion...call it whatever you want. But one thing it's not: it's not freedom.
The Founding Fathers, the very architects of our great success, would have rejected Obama's fundamental disregard for the power of liberty. How do I know? Compare their words. While the 44th president says that the question of the size of the government is not the important question, the 4th president and Father of the Constitution, James Madison, saw it differently. He wrote in the Federalist Papers, "Is the power of the government greater than ought to have been vested in it? This is the first question."
And why was it the first question? Because Madison and his fellow patriots understood that increasing the size of government meant decreasing the freedom of the people. Barack Obama is no friend of freedom.
Sunday, June 21 2009
In a recent speech to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, former President Bill Clinton stated the obvious: that we are a nation with a great deal of diversity. Heralding this fact as a "very positive thing," Clinton joined with the growing chorus of cultural commentators who apparently think that there is something inherently wonderful about diversity.
Sure, ethnic diversity has many benefits. And the opportunity to learn about different customs and cultural characteristics is an enlightening exercise. But the architects of our republic chose the Latin phrase "E pluribus unum" in describing our civilization for a reason. The phrase means "out of many, one." It's the notion that though having different experiences and varying backgrounds, the people of our country accept, embrace, and perpetuate similar values, a common belief system, and a unity in purpose.
In other words, what has made the United States so special is not the mere fact that we have welcomed in immigrants from many lands - that is merely diversity for diversity's sake. The true glory of America has come when that rich diversity of persons has united behind core principles and advanced shared ideals.
Unfortunately, at the behest of the politically correct and tolerant crowd, we are in danger of losing sight of that crucial reality. Remember it was not long ago that President Obama made the declaration that, "Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers."
Now, certainly Barack Obama is smart enough to know that this country has maintained populations of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists for generations - it's not a new development. So what was he saying? Read in context, the President was suggesting that because of this diversity, the United States needs to fundamentally change its cultural foundation to incorporate values not just from the Christian faith, but from all these religions. He called for us to begin to "translate our reasoning" to a more diverse approach. This is a disastrous concept because it naively assumes that there will be no consequences from doing so.
Our Founding Fathers were wise and learned individuals who were students of political philosophy. When crafting the basis for our civilization, they could have chosen any of a number of belief systems, but they chose Christianity for a reason. No, it was not to use the power of government to force everyone to be Christian or abide by a strict Christian code. The First Amendment clearly prohibited such action. Rather, it was because they understood that the absolute moral principles that come from Christian scripture - respect for life, private property rights, charity, frugality, stewardship, benevolence, peaceful living, responsible liberty - were the best friend to a free society and should be encouraged.
Don't take my word for it. John Adams said, "The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed in ancient or modern times the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity." Dr. Benjamin Rush added that the only means of perpetuating our form of government was the, "universal education of our children in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. For this divine book, above all others, favors that respect for just laws, those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism."
Even Benjamin Franklin, commonly regarded as the least religious of all the Founding Fathers said, "History will afford the frequent opportunities of showing the excellency of the Christian religion above all others." If those words were uttered in our politically correct country today, whoever spoke them would be regarded as a narrow minded right-wing bigot. Thus, you see the danger we are up against.
Again, our founders weren't suggesting that we use the power of government to force everyone into the baptistery. They were suggesting, however, that for our culture to survive and endure, it would take a unified recognition amongst our people that not all belief systems are equal, and Christianity stands above them all.
Mr. Obama is right in saying that this country is made up of people of varying beliefs. But there's a reason that peaceful Muslims have found it safer to live in this country than in those founded on Islamic law. There's a reason atheists have found it safer to live in this country than in those founded on the absence of moral authority. It's because our founders made Christian principle our cultural foundation. And that's something that if we're wise, no amount of diversity will ever change.
Sunday, June 14 2009
Though predictable, it was no less despicable. Just a day following the heinous murder of the country's foremost practitioner of infanticide, George Tiller, radical anti-human rights activists on the left were already condemning the entire pro-life movement for facilitating the incident. Left-wing websites like the Daily Kos blamed conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck for causing it, the Huffington Post deemed it a morally outrageous hypocrisy, and PBS's abortion fanatic Bonnie Erbe went so far as to characterize the entire pro-life movement as a breeding ground for domestic terrorists.
Of course rational people recognize that it borders on clinical insanity to rail about the moral outrage of killing a single human being while simultaneously defending and advocating the wholesale slaughter of millions of others. And just to make sure that there is no confusion on this point, let's be clear on what Tiller did for a living.
George Tiller specialized in what is euphemistically called late term abortion. It involves the breech (feet first) delivery of a full term baby to the point where only the head remains inside the birth canal...ostensibly to soothe the conscience of the mother by muffling the child's screams as scissors penetrate the back of his tiny skull and the contents are brutally suctioned out.
The lifeless little body is then fully removed and discarded, in pieces, into a trash sack. Former late term abortionists have also admitted that sometimes a partially delivered child can pose health risks for the woman, and so the baby is entirely delivered before being exterminated. There is a term that some of us use for such an act. It's called murder.
Again, these are full-term, completely viable infants capable of living outside the womb with totally developed life systems - including the ability to experience pain. In short, Tiller practiced, and the left defended, infanticide. Hearing these leftists now lament the taking of human life is disgracefully stomach turning.
Notice then the irony of the situation. The only people in a position to truly express outrage over Tiller's murder are those that the left are attempting to blame for it. But this is just one of the numerous twists surrounding this tragic situation.
For instance, consider this irony: those that claim to be outraged by Tiller's murder will be calling for a lighter penalty than those they condemn for causing it. When Tiller's murderer is brought to justice, it will be those of us who oppose abortion that will be demanding his execution. The intrinsic value of human life (which, paradoxically, Tiller assaulted) is so great that anyone who violates it forfeits his own right to live.
Meanwhile, it will be those on the left who proudly defended Tiller's life work that will call for a softer sentence. They consider the death penalty barbaric and find pro-lifers who advocate capital punishment inconsistent. "You can't be pro-life and pro-death penalty!" they shout.
Evidently to them, being pro-abortion and anti-death penalty is somehow better?! Is there anything more ethically offensive then those who defend the right to life for convicted, murderous felons, yet strip that right from innocent newborn babies? It is astonishing that anyone can be so blinded by their own self-righteous pomposity that they fail to see this blatant moral incongruity.
It's also notably ironic that the same ideological movement that demands we not castigate all Muslims for the actions of a few is so quick to violate its own precepts when it comes to this issue. We aren't hearing the throngs of Hollywood activists shouting that "most pro-lifers are peaceful," or seeing Democrat Congressmen thumping their chests while proclaiming that "revenge against the pro-life movement for the actions of this one radical will not be tolerated."
Indeed, the ironies surrounding the murder of this murderer are plentiful to say the least. But perhaps the most tragic of them all is that in the end, George Tiller met a brutal demise at the hands of someone who exhibited a blatant disrespect for the intrinsic value of human life...a lesson that Tiller - with the left's blessing - dedicated his life to teaching.
Sunday, June 07 2009
Achieving energy independence has become a common refrain for both parties in recent elections. And it is a worthy objective. One needn't look too far into the history of the Middle East to recognize that having our nation's lifeblood dependent upon such an unstable part of the world is not wise or prudent. First, it gives these oil-producing countries excellent leverage to wield economic blackmail over us. Second, and far more important, we constantly run the risk of having to send young Americans to die in conflicts to preserve our national interests. It's all needless and unnecessary if the United States would get serious about energy independence - meaning we actually pursue policies that bring us to that result rather than just talk about them during election season.
Our current president said on the campaign trail, "I will set a clear goal as president. In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil in the Middle East." That's a wonderful idea - if only he meant it.
There are at least four common sense steps we could take immediately to ensure meeting President Obama's stated goal. The major obstacle in taking them, unfortunately, is President Obama and his party.
Perhaps that's not fair. Pursuing alternative energies like solar and wind power are excellent ideas, and Obama embraces them. These two sources of energy should be utilized to their fullest. But it does us absolutely no good to ignore that solar power is incredibly expensive, and that the cumulative benefits of both it and wind power are modest. Simply put, we won't be powering cities off of either.
President Obama has also called to rebuild the nation's energy grid to save wasted energy. I'm with him. And when he asks Americans to do a better job conserving energy, we shouldn't bristle in response. Conservation is a good thing - whether it's carpooling when we can, turning off the lights when we leave a room, recycling, or turning our thermostats down when we go on vacation.
On those objectives (wind, solar, conservation, and electrical grid), Mr. Obama has my unwavering support. But pretending like that alone will bring us to energy independence in 100 years, much less a decade, is silly. True energy independence will only be achieved when we start putting it as a higher priority than allegiance to outdated ecological concerns and unreasonable environmental alarmism...something that to this point, Democrats like Mr. Obama have been unwilling to do.
First, the United States must greatly expand our own domestic drilling. The outer continental shelf and Gulf of Mexico hold incredibly rich supplies of oil and natural gas. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a massive piece of land with some pristine and beautiful areas that should be left alone. But the tiny portion of ANWR proposed for drilling is far removed from these gorgeous regions and is a barren wasteland. Drill now.
Secondly, we should begin seriously mining oil shale from mountains in the United States. We have more oil shale in our mountains than the Middle East has oil in their reserves.
Third, we could be the Saudi Arabia of the world when it comes to coal if we so desired. We have the ability to burn coal cleanly, and we're sitting on massive supplies of it.
Fourth and finally, anyone who is truly serious about energy independence has no choice but to demand the expansion of nuclear power. Any environmentalist who frets over man-made global warming, yet opposes nuclear power, has absolutely no credibility. Even the waste from nuclear energy can be properly stored and reused for more energy later. Moreover, it is the only non-fossil fuel based energy that can legitimately power cities. And when alarmists warn that it can't be done safely, remind them that our Navy has been powering submarines with it for decades just fine. Also, even the French are building nuke plants. Enough said.
These four steps should be embraced by all Americans. Yet President Obama is committed to an "environmental alarmist-based," not "energy independence-based" agenda. He plans to force Americans off fossil fuels by causing their price to soar. In a pre-election interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama said, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket." This is the worst possible policy for the United States when it comes to energy, as it will inevitably gut the American economy.
Destroying jobs is not the way to make America energy independent, Mr. President. The answer is to pursue four obvious solutions that your party doesn't seem to be interested in at all.