Tell The Government: 'Out Of Our Light'

After Alexander the Great had conquered Greece, he was besieged by visitors; businessmen, politicians and scholars came from across the Greek isles to kiss the ring of the new king, and to wish him well on his coming Persian campaigns.

But Diogenes, the famous Cynic philosopher, was not among the supplicants.  So Alexander sought him out, and found Diogenes lying in the sun.  Introducing himself as king of all the Greeks, Alexander asked if there was anything he could grant.

"Yes," replied Diogenes.  "You can get out of my light."

Alexander was so taken by this response that he was heard to remark, as he left the philosopher to his sun-bath, "If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes."

Thus the famous Cynic told the man who offered him anything that he already had everything -- his freedom.

Now, President Obama and his supplicants in Congress are offering the citizens of the United States, if not anything, then quite a lot.  They are offering "affordable" health-care for all.  They are offering a world without "climate change."  All that they require in return for living in such an Eden?  A little liberty, is all.

The ghastly cap-and-trade legislation will tell you when and how much energy you can use to pursue your dreams; it will tax almost all productive human activity.  The Obama-Pelosi health-care racket will slowly starve the private insurance market, leaving you with exactly one choice for your medical care - the government. 

We citizens have thus far dodged a bullet.  August recess has come and health-care and cap-and-trade are not yet law.  We must use this time to rally our forces.  Meet your congressmen and senators at their town halls and public appearances.  Call their offices.  Write them letters, both print and email.  Tell them on no uncertain terms - this will not stand.

And here is the key: We must make our case forcefully, yet reasonably.  We cannot afford to seem silent; but neither can we afford to seem unruly.  They cannot be allowed to write us off as a "mob."   

Above all, our representatives must be made to remember - we are not doughy Europeans who accept whatever the government does.  They work for us.  The money they propose to spend is ours, and they propose to spend it before we have even earned it.  That is simply unacceptable.

It is already starting.  YouTube and other sites are filling with videos of angry crowds holding their representatives to account at town halls all across America.  This is to the good.  The battle is joined, and is not yet lost.

Diogenes refused Alexander's favors because he knew they came with a price - fealty to the king.  Let us take our motto from Diogenes.  Let us tell our government:  Remove yourself from our light.

Matt Patterson is a National Review Institute Washington Fellow and the author of "Union of Hearts: The Abraham Lincoln & Ann Rutledge Story."  His email is