Freedom: It Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means
Last week, the Democrats held their Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton, where Emperor Obama, Slayer of Insurance Companies, Defender of the Poor (and making more every day), the Duke of Deficits, addressed his faithful assembled minions, dispensing tidbits of propaganda like an imperial Pez dispenser, reeling them in with promises of endless supplies of government candy, assuring them it is oh so good for them.
Obama declared that “As Democrats, we’ve let the other side define the word ‘freedom’ for too long…freedom for ordinary Americans to honestly pursue their dreams, that’s what we believe.” He went on to define freedom as the power of government to protect you from any adverse circumstance that may arise in your life, and as the ability for government to provide for your health care, your retirement, food, housing, and so on and so forth.
To quote the inimitable Inigo Montoya, the glorious Spaniard from one of my all time favorite movies, The Princess Bride…Mr. Obama, “You keep using that word [freedom]…I do not think it means what you think it means!‘” What Obama is describing is not freedom; it is lifelong dependency on the gargantuan Nanny State, with promises of cradle-to-grave nurturing no matter how irresponsible the decisions you make in your life. Of course, the only way for government to protect you from your own mistakes is by forcing others to pay the price for you. Every action has a consequence, and just because you don’t suffer does not mean that someone does not suffer. Someone has to pay the piper. There is no free lunch.
So when Obama says “Freedom is the peace of mind of knowing that if you got sick, you won’t lose everything,” what he means is that if you are irresponsible and go without insurance until after you get sick, then he will force insurance companies to pay for your treatment anyway, with the costs of your care covered by the premiums paid by those that chose to be responsible. That means that while you get essentially free health care, others are seeing their payments go up to offset your refusal to plan for future health problems (this does not, of course, apply to those that have tried to be responsible and are without health insurance because ObamaCare has caused premiums to skyrocket beyond what is affordable, or for those that have lost jobs due to the effects of ObamaCare).
When Obama says that “Freedom is the ability to change jobs and start a new business, chase a new idea without fear of losing your health insurance,” what he means is that he is willing to let the poor sucker working two jobs pay higher taxes to cover the cost of your health care while you discover your inner muse and sling paint on a canvass, like some pigment-based Rorschach test, seeking to find the deeper meaning of the universe in random splatters. Sure it’s modern-day slavery, forcing someone else to pay for your needs while you “pursue your dreams”, but that’s their problem, right?
When Obama says “Freedom is signing for that new home and knowing it can’t be taken from you because you actually understand what you’re signing,” what he actually means is, like the major financial institutions that he helped bail out, you can get a mortgage for a home that is far beyond your means to repay, and when you default on the loans he will let you renegotiate the terms of the mortgage, lower the rates, forgive some of the debt, and pay for it by laying higher taxes on those that made reasonable loans they knew they could repay. They were probably rich anyway, so they deserved to get bilked.
Finally, with apparently utter obliviousness to the irony of his words, Obama goes on to say “Freedom for the most powerful interests to do whatever they want – that’s, I suppose, one form of freedom.” Powerful interests doing whatever they want…whatever could he mean by that? Maybe he was referring to a president that defies the constitutional separation of powers and declares that he will “act where Congress will not”, regardless of whether he has that authority? Or was he talking about a president who rewards a powerful interest like the UAW, which gets tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in a bailout, while violating bankruptcy laws in the processes, screwing over secured creditors? Maybe he is talking about repeatedly making unilateral changes to a health care law passed by his party alone, and signed by him; changes which he has no authority to make, in order to try and minimize the damage his party will suffer in the upcoming elections.
To Democrats, freedom means being able to kill a child in the womb if it is inconvenient, and forcing those with religious objections to pay for your abortions and birth control. It means the freedom to say what you want, so long as it is not critical of the current president or his policies (otherwise, government agents will show up at your door to have a little chat with you, or you’ll find that you are the subject of an IRS audit). To Democrats, freedom means the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of your own conscience, so long as your god approves of homosexual marriage and forcing companies to cover your birth control (otherwise, they’ll deal with your bigotry and your desire to control the bodies of women).
To Democrats, freedom of the press is sacrosanct, so long as you don’t print or air stories critical of Democrats (otherwise, they may be forced to send FCC agents in to monitor you and make sure you are covering stories “fairly”). It means freedom of assembly (unless you are 90-year old World War II veteran trying to visit the open air memorial erected in your honor, in which case they will arrest you). It means the freedom to get the best education possible, so long as that education is government-approved and delivered by the school to which you are assigned based on your address.
It means the freedom to live life as you please, so long as you don’t try to flush more than 1.6 gallons down a toilet at one time, or run more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute through a shower head, or use an incandescent light bulb, or eat foods with trans-fats, or too much salt, or too much sugar. Yes, you are free to do anything you want, so long as you don’t try to buy a health insurance policy without maternity coverage, or drug addiction coverage. Freedom means being able to petition your government for a redress of grievances, so long as you do not refer to a candidate by name within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election.
Yes, comrades, America is the land of the free, where you can do anything you want, be anything you want to be, say anything you want to say…just so long as you are obedient to your government masters.
Or maybe freedom is more than that. Maybe freedom is being able to make decisions for yourself, to reap the rewards when you make wise decisions, and to suffer the consequences when you make poor decisions. Wisdom is not the absence of mistakes; it is the process of making mistakes, and learning from them. Government should be there to protect the rights of the people from infringement by others, not to protect the people from themselves, for if we extend government power to that of protecting us from potential mistakes, there is no end to government power that would be justified.
America is unique in the history of the world; a meritocracy where we succeed or fail by virtue of our own intellect, ambition, creativity, and work ethic. We are not a nation of Julias and Pajama Boys, mindless cogs in the great gears of government. Our individuality is what sets us apart, and I’d have it no other way. Or, as Albert Einstein once said, “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.”