Oodles of Americans think that politicians are or can be saviors of the country and resolve its problems. A large number of politicians likewise act as if they can become presidential saviors. Most of them are people with no experience governing or running a city, county or state. Most you’ve never heard of until they become a presidential aspirant. None have a ghost of a chance of saving the country because they are standard Republicans and Democrats, standard conservatives and progressives, standard indistinguishable leftists and rightists. The only politician with credentials that go back decades who actually understands our problems and what directions we must take to alleviate them is Ron Paul. The more that Americans seek statist saviors, the less they turn to Dr. Paul.
The statism of the typical power-seeker is a given. Explore the website OnTheIssues to your heart’s content for all the rumored and publicized saviors, but you will always find that they are statists all. They may happen to adopt an appropriate libertarian stance here and there, but they will almost surely hew to a predominantly statist line, no matter whether left or right.
The race for the Democratic nomination is on already. Potential saviors now include the following along with their Predictit “prices”: Kamala Harris (17 cents), Bernie Sanders (15 cents), Joe Biden (13 cents), Amy Klobuchar (11 cents), Elizabeth Warren (10 cents), Cory Booker (9 cents), Kirsten Gillenbrand (5 cents), Andrew Cuomo (3 cents), Oprah Winfrey (3 cents), Tim Kaine (1 cent), Jerry Brown (1 cent), Chris Murphy (1 cent), John Delaney (1 cent), Mark Zuckerberg (1 cent), and Dwayne Johnson (1 cent).
Ms. Harris’s career has been as a lawyer and Attorney General. Although her record on the issues is limited, what there is does not allow us to conclude that she deviates from being a typical statist. Progressives think she’s not leftist enough, but from a libertarian perspective, she’s abundantly leftist:
“If they [Harris, Booker, Patrick] want to win over the left — and Harris, who has expressed at least mild support for tuition-free public college (for families with income less than $140,000), a $15 minimum wage, expanded Social Security, and Medicare for all, would probably be the most credible person to attempt this — they need to first explain their recent history.”
Harris hasn’t decided yet whether or not to seek the nomination. She’s due to tell us us next month. Meanwhile she’s trying to engage us with rhetoric like this:
“I think Americans want in their next leader someone who will be honest, speak truth, who will have a vision for our country that is unburdened by what we’ve been, but instead can see who we can be,” Harris said. “And they want in their leader someone who will paint a picture of the future in which everyone can see themselves.”
It is a statist’s way of thinking to think that we want a leader who “can see who we can be”. What each of us wants to be is necessarily within out own province and of first and foremost interest to us. This interest is what we direct our lives to. It is not typically a want directed at a collective “we”, “nation”, “country” or “people”. We lead ourselves. Our interest might be directed at a legacy, but most of us do not get that far. It might be directed at a God. It typically includes some sort of happiness in work and family and friends. A “leader” as someone “who will paint a picture of the future” that figures in our scheme of things or our lives is not ordinarily what we either want, need or crave. Our fulfillment comes in other than our relations with the political forces that buffet us and that ask us to vote every so often.
Leaders don’t know what we want, what we value, how much we value it, what our plans are, or how we can make them come true; and they cannot possibly know. The more they try to impose their vision with their programs, the worse that they make it for great numbers of us. Taken to its end point, socialism will bring vast disorder, mayhem, conflict and deprivation. Its forms vary widely and the course it takes vary, but the outcome is wreckage, setbacks, loss of civilization and a usually long course in which recovery to past peaks of production and accomplishment is painfully slow.
If Ms. Harris ever speaks about what freedom really is and what freedom really means, then perhaps we can amend our interpretation. She has written “We were founded on ideals that say that there will be freedom of religion, freedom of association & that we will respect the dignity of all.” This is okay as far as it goes, but it’s rote, it’s cagey, and it refers to the Constitution’s First Amendment. Had she referred to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and elaborated with some enthusiasm for the personal aspirations and freedom of each of us, then this would leave a far different impression of her basic outlook and philosophy.2:45 pm on December 5, 2018 Email Michael S. Rozeff