by Robert Wenzel Economic Policy Journal
Recently by Robert Wenzel: New York State Black Market in Cigarettes Booming
I have now read President Obama’s second inaugural speech for the third time. The speech haunts me. In very clever language the speech lays out a plan for a more centralized government, for more interference by the government in the affairs of individuals. The speech is about government as the solution to society’s ills. The President does this, though, while early on in his speech hailing the Constitution, which attempted to put a limit on government. He then quotes from the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” He then proceeds in the remainder of his speech to rip apart the Declaration’s call for Liberty. But even before his mention of the Constitution and the quoting from the Declaration, in the very first paragraph, after greetings to the “Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens,” the speech is haunting. In the first paragraph that begins the President’s message, he speaks of that arrogant notion American exceptionalism: What makes us exceptional, what makes us American, is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago[...] Few realize it, but the concept of American exceptionalism came about as a result of a battle between two communist factions. Wikipedia explains the history well: In June 1927 Jay Lovestone, a leader of the Communist Party in America and soon to be named General Secretary, described America’s economic and social uniqueness. He noted the increasing strength of American capitalism, and the country’s “tremendous reserve power”; a strength and power which he said prevented Communist revolution. In 1929, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, disagreeing that America was so resistant to revolution, called Lovestone’s ideas “the heresy of American exceptionalism”—the first time that the specific term “American exceptionalism” was used. The term has been advanced most recently by the neocons, not surprising since their roots can be traced back to the Trotskyite movement. Thus, at the very start of Obama’s speech, one has to wonder if Obama understands the communist roots of his chosen notion of an “exceptional” America. If he does, then, indeed, he is sending us a very chilling message. In paragraph 4 of his speech, he said to the nation: Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. This is a very clever sentence. “A never-ending journey,” he says to “bridge” the words of the Declaration to “reality.” But is it really “a never-ending journey”? He attempts to answer this by saying: Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. This is true. Half-slave and half-free is not liberty for all. But, if there are no slaves anymore, what could Obama possibly mean when he talks of a “never-ending journey”? Wouldn’t the words in the Declaration meet reality when all men are free? The President apparently thinks not. In a twisted view of the Declaration, he sees less free, more government interference, as part of his “never-ending journey.” He went on to say: Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers. What is this talk of “we”? Railroads, highways, schools and colleges all started out in the private sector. It was only through crony deals with special interests with private agendas that the government was brought into the picture. If the president means crony elitists in cahoots with government, as the “we,” then he is correct. If he is somehow attempting to link the “we” of government interference, with the Declaration of Independence and citizens of America, he is a con-man. And then he completely exposes his anti-liberty views: Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. Ah yes, free markets with rules, that is, liberty with chains. And he moves on with a great attack on private charity: Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune. Americans are not uncaring. The president insults Americans when he states that government by gun must force Americans to be charitable. It is another deceptive myth that the president likes to repeat often, Further, the “misfortune” that the president speaks of is not misfortune in the way private individuals think of it. It is the president as part on the Entitlement-Crony Complex in operation. It’s about buying votes and splitting up lucre. And after heaping all this government interventionist stuff on us, he takes a break to throw smoke in our eyes and claim he is not talking about central planning: Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character. But, he quickly returns to his real theme, more government planning: But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action Oh yeah, so much for the Declaration of Independence. “Times change.” The central planner goes on: No single person can train all the math and science teachers, we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. What a bizarre first phrase: “No single person can train all the math and science teachers.” Who anywhere, ever , said that a single person will have to train all the math and science teachers? He goes on in that paragraph to state that somehow this must be done as “one nation.” He means by ”one nation,” the government. And he does so without telling us why math and science teachers, road builders. networks and research labs, wouldn’t emerge under liberty, in free markets, without the interference of government. And, while he is all about calling for central planning, he slips in a bit of class warfare: For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. He does not explain that the growing wealth of a few, while others search for low-paying jobs, is because of government regulations that protect those who already have wealth (especially those with crony wealth who have ties to the government) and make it difficult, if not impossible, for others to compete against crony wealth. The president goes on: We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. Who is this “we” that the president is again talking about? It is, of course, the great central planning mechanism the government. Note also the call to “reform our tax code.” This is really a call for tax hikes. Tax code reform always ends up being about higher taxes through the closing of “loopholes.” What we need is lower taxes, not tax reform. He then once more insults Americans, who are quite capable of providing charity on their own: We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. All central planning all the time, from the “needy” to healthcare. And what does he mean reduce the cost of health care? What could that possibly mean other than in the president’s mind cutting back on some payments on various drugs and services. The president then said: The commitments we make to each other: through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. But there are takers. The takers are the government operatives. They take from us and redistribute the wealth, and those on the receiving end are, indeed, softened up, not strengthened. It is creating a dependent society. A society dependent on government for basic services. The president also made this ominous comment about international affairs. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. Here we are back to paragraph one and American “exceptionalism,” and the neocon view that the US should be the only superpower, the Empire, if you will. Haven’t we learned enough blowback lessons, so that it should be clear the US should stay out of other countries affairs? And if we are so gung ho about democracy, shouldn’t we stand by Iran and its democratic government? Instead of, say, the monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Is it really about democracy? It appears not. It is more smoke. It is about the US Empire, its behind the scenes cronies desiring global control. Then, of course, while Obama hints at more violence abroad from the Empire, he obviously believes that there is nothing that those that live in the heart of the Empire should fear. He wants our guns: Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
And there you have it, from start to finish, with a bit of smoke thrown into the air, to confuse at just the right moment, the president’s speech was about moving away from the Declaration of Independence and closer to more government control, more power to the state. In the end, Obama’s speech is about this, government controlled Americans with very armed government around every corner.
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.