The Left play on human weaknesses

Opposition to creeping statism usually hones in on its impracticalities: higher prices, less competition, socialism, etc. The give-and-take of daily discourse seldom considers how the Obama agenda, specifically and liberalism, in general, diminishes the human spirit.

For starters, one need only listen to liberals themselves. Not the self-satisfied spinmeisters on TV gab-shows but rather the water-cooler and break-room perspectives of everyday, working Americans. Their sad consensus is that it’s time greedy insurance companies got what’s coming to ‘em. Some complain that doctors make more than they’re worth, while others name pharmaceutical companies the guilty parties for pricing health care out of reach.

Even in victory, these liberals are sustained by knee-jerk resentments of America’s productive classes. Even those well-off economically see themselves on the outside of mainstream society looking in — groups and institutions they sense will never accept them, they seek to destroy. It’s not merely that liberalism plays on class resentments, it openly encourages them. It deliberately progresses by pitting citizen against citizen, sublimating individual autonomy to the prevailing orthodoxies of the day.

Conservatism, by contrast, seeks to empower individuals, stressing that a just society is shaped by families, communities and businesses free of the constraints of an over-reaching government. But liberals invest little faith in their fellow citizens, and their upcoming agenda promises, in part, Cap & Trade and still greater control of our financial institutions.

Exerting near hegemonic control of our government and our culture, liberals don’t convert masses of Americans as much as wear them down. Most individuals lack the time or the means to fight them, asking only for increasingly narrower sanctuaries free of the creeping hand of the Nanny State: ‘I don’t mind smoking outdoors’ (which is coming to mean further and further from the entrances to buildings); ‘Just let me eat out once a week with the family’ (while some cities, such as New York, regulate the content, or at least the disclosure of, such ingredients and additives as salt and trans-fats). Even in your home, government regulates the amount of water allowed in your toilet.

Thus, Americans see themselves not as autonomous citizens but as wards of a Social Worker state being protected from themselves. The heartbreaking toll of liberalism is not just onerous taxes and regulations but the lobotomizing of America’s rugged, independent spirit. The boundless optimism that built this country has given way to dread, pessimism and the guarded hope that there will be ’some Social Security left when I retire.’ While culture has always harbored negative stereotypes of business leaders, the traditional Horatio Alger notions of success through grit and determination have succumbed to get-even-with-the rich social policies and tax codes.

Not surprisingly, a cheesy, low-budget commercial ran the other morning promising a free month of government-provided telephone service. Available only to those currently under specific assistance programs, USA Free Phone offers service thereafter for only $19.99 a month. “This is yours, so don’t waste it,” the ad beckons. Never mind that cell and home phone options are as plentiful as breakfast cereal (and about as cheap), we’re talking FREE here! Don’t bore me with liberty!

Like offering candy to five-year olds, the federal government robs many of opportunities to prove themselves independent adults and breadwinners. In fourteen short months, the Obama administration has stifled initiative and embedded in our national psyche the idea that America is no more significant on the world stage than, say, Sweden, and our greatness is measured merely by the election of him.

Liberalism doesn’t diminish America, it diminishes Americans, and our defining characteristics are forfeited not all at once but in tiny increments, such as on March 21, 2010. What is at risk for at least the next three years is an inheritance from our forefathers so vital as to be incalculable: liberty itself. In the words of President Calvin Coolidge, it is not collective, it is personal. “All liberty,” he said in 1924, “is individual,” and the stakes remain not only alarmingly high but deeply personal.


Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here

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