A warning to America from the future
In Europe, there has been over the past two years a seismic shift in the opinion of the American president, who was once thought of as an agent for "hope and change" (something many in Europe could not explain either). I have often written about the opinion many in Europe have of Barack Obama.
Yesterday one of my favorite columnists, Janet Daley, who writes for The Telegraph in Great Britain, penned an outstanding article clearly calling out Barack Obama for who he is and what he is doing. The title of the piece: "Barack Obama is Trying to Make The US a More Socialist State."
From the column:
Listening to the President's State of the Union message last week was like a surreal visit to our own recent past: there were almost word for word all those interminable Gordon Brown Budgets that preached "fairness" while listing endless ways in which central government would intervene in every form of economic activity.
Later, in a television interview, Mr. Obama described his programme of using higher taxes on the wealthy to bankroll new government spending as "a recipe for a fair, sound approach to deficit reduction and rebuilding this country." To which we who come from the future can only shout, "No-o-o, go back! Don't come down this road!"
As we try desperately to extricate ourselves from the consequences of that philosophy, which sounds so eminently reasonable ("giving everybody a fair share": the President called it), we could tell America a thing or two-if it would only listen.
If his [Obama's] European credentials were up to date, he would know that this was precisely the social model that is causing the EU to implode, and whose hopeless contradictions the best economic minds on the Continent are attempting, unsuccessfully, to resolve.
He [Obama] wants to import the democratic socialism that Europe embraced after the war, which was for European cultural reasons, imbued with aristocratic paternalism and Marxist notions of bourgeois guilt. If democratic socialism was ever a solution to Europe's problems (and the present crisis is making that seem less and less likely), it is certainly not an answer to any question that Americans are likely to ask.
When government seizes an ever larger share of the wealth created by entrepreneurial activity and attempts to re-distribute it on what the governing regime considers "fair," the consequences are much more complex and perverse than any simplistic and emotional equation. It would seem to be logical to understand that the people from whom the wealth is expropriated will become less willing to incur the risks that entrepreneurial investment entails and that the end-product is less societal wealth and tax revenue. Yet that logic is lost on those who have come to expect the government to take care of them. As Janet Daley points out:
There is, it turns out, a huge difference between being provided with a livelihood and feeling that you have earned it. The assumption that all wealth that individuals create belongs, by moral right, to the state, to spend on benefits or phoney job creation schemes (sorry, public infrastructure projects), is proving phenomenally difficult to expunge in Britain, so ineradicably has it embedded itself in the public consciousness.
It is clear that Obama and his fellow-travelers are determined to forcibly take this country down the road already traveled by many countries in Europe. Yet nearly all in the American media and even those in the conservative pundit class refuse to call him what he is--a socialist and what he espouses as extraordinarily dangerous for the country. Many in Europe who have seen and are experiencing the carnage of this errant philosophy are quite willing to do so. They also are aware of the uniqueness of the United States and its role as model of human liberation.
Janet Daley concludes her column as follows:
The United States is a country that was invented to allow people to be free of domination or persecution by the state. Its constitution and political institutions are specifically designed to prevent the federal government from oppressing the rights, or undermining the sense of responsibility, of the individual citizen. If it ceases to stand by that principle, then it will suffer a catastrophic loss of purpose and identity-as well as making a quite remarkably stupid and unnecessary mistake.
Were our politicians and the media as aware, then the nation would not be facing the dilemma at hand or even be willing to consider the re-election of Barack Obama.