Cheryl Miller: If it looks like a socialist and sounds like a socialist ...
Throughout his first year as president, Barack Obama and his policies have been assailed as “socialist.” His supporters vehemently deny this characterization. But the Russian newspaper Pravda (formerly the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R.) recently trumpeted the demise of our political-economic system with the headline, “American capitalism gone with a whimper,” and if anyone should be able to recognize the withering of economic freedom, it is a people who only have recently gained it.
Socialism, according to Merriam-Webster, is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
How else would one characterize the takeover of General Motors and AIG, student loan and Pell grant processing, the massive health care reform act, draconian regulation of financial markets, and proposed cap-and-trade policies that, by going through the EPA, would circumvent consideration by Congress? How else to characterize expanded New Deal and Great Society programs, the ever-increasing size of government (numerous new agencies will be required to administer the health care plan alone), and the crushing taxation to support them? President Obama may not call himself a socialist, but the policies he espouses say otherwise.
Behind every wealth “sharing” scheme is the theft of someone’s wealth. As Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the U.K., said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Wealth cannot be commanded into being by wishful thinking or government fiat. Liberty begets innovation, and innovation leads to capital formation and accumulation in the private sector, thus enabling growth of a great middle class.
Although Obama’s ideology is transparently socialist, he is not the first politician to steer our nation toward collectivism. In fact, our nation has been moving in this direction for a very long time. We the people complacently allowed our government to intrude into areas where it has no legitimate business, thereby violating our rights by usurping individual initiative and exercise of judgment.
The notion of the supremacy of “the common good” — that activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the “community” — is the most destructive of our liberty.
Supreme Court rulings based on this idea have diminished constitutional protections in countless ways over the last hundred years, and continue to do so today. “Society” or “community” is but an abstraction for a number of individuals: If the rights of the individual are protected, the rights of all are protected.
If the United States is to survive as the land of the free (and therefore prosperous), it is imperative that the notion of the “common good” be thoroughly repudiated. Our government’s purpose is to protect individual rights, not to violate them by turning aggregate sovereign individuals into a separate entity known as “society.”
It is this, I hope, that will be the legacy of the nascent Tea Party: not merely a revolt against the size and reach and cost of government, but examination by each citizen of the roots and reason for our nation’s greatness — the recognition and protection of man’s sovereignty. It would also be the best result that could come out of Obama’s socialist presidency.
Cheryl Miller can be e-mailed at Fortuna_reilly@yahoo.com.