Everything has a fundamental essence, a quality that makes it uniquely itself. Take an orange, for example. It's not only a citrus fruit -- it's an orange-colored citrus fruit. Horticulturists can alter its size, its texture, its sweetness, and even (to a limited extent) its color, but as long as its color is orange, the fruit remains "an orange" because that color is its definition. Change the color, however, and suddenly you have the un-orange, the anti-orange. You have something completely different that no longer contains the essence of the original fruit. Lose the essence and you lose the orange.
America has an essence too, and that essence is liberty. Since its inception, America has been defined by liberty -- both the liberty of the individual and the liberty of the nation. As the Declaration of Independence more elegantly states, "Goverments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." If we, the people make a social compact by which we consent to be governed, it means that government is our servant, not our master. Lincoln understood that ours is a nation boasting a "government of the people, by the people[, and] for the people."
This uniquely American precept, one that sees the power of government flowing from the people rather than controlling the people, ideally results in a situation in which citizens are subject to minimal government constraints. As the Founders envisioned American government, the state exists to optimize individual freedoms, not to control the individual.
To this end, once the Founders delineated our government's structure in the Constitution -- a structure that grants the government only specifically enumerated powers and ensures that no single branch of the government can become dominant -- the Founders immediately turned their attention to the individual freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Each of these rights is intended to optimize the citizen's power against his (or her) own government.
The First Amendment espouses the purest statement of individual rights ever set to paper and imposed against a government: American citizens can practice their religion without government interference, speak freely without government censorship, read papers untouched by government control, and gather openly and loudly to make their political views known.
Unlike citizens at all other times and in all other places, Americans can protect these broad rights with firepower, because the Second Amendment grants them the right to bear arms on their own soil, a right entirely separate from the military's obligation to protect American citizens from foreign enemies. Given that the Second Amendment was ratified on the heels of a successful revolution, the Founders manifestly intended that Americans, protected by the military abroad, were free to protect themselves from their own government at home. (To appreciate this right fully, remember that one of the first things the Nazis did was to make private arms illegal, especially for Jews.)
In the Fourth Amendment, the Founders protected American citizens from government overreach that extends into the home. This was the first time in history that a government promised its people that they did not need to fear that their own government would seize their persons, despoil their homes, or steal their property.
If the government does engage in a reasonable search and seizure, the Fifth Amendment promises that the citizens swept in the government net will be given a fair trial. Further, when the Founders stated that the government cannot force people to testify against themselves, they put a definitive end to the practice of torture, once a staple of judicial systems the world over (and one still routinely practiced in totalitarian theocracies such as Iran).
Read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution and you will see that the American system is structured so that government is subordinate to the people, not vice-versa. The government's sole purpose is to provide a functioning framework within which American citizens can act freely to exercise their "unalienable Rights ... among these ... Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Liberty also extends to the nation as a whole. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are replete with examples of the Founders' absolute obsession with a free-standing national sovereignty. Indeed, the entire point of the Declaration of Independence is to establish America as a nation second to none.
The Founders, wise in the ways of man, were also aware that foreign powers can gain control, not only through aggressive acts, but also through apparent acts of friendship. Presidents who might develop overly friendly relationships with foreign leaders may not unilaterally enter into treaties unless a two-thirds (or super-) majority of the Senate ratifies the treaty. Likewise, without Congress's explicit permission, no government official may be flattered into acts contrary to American interests by accepting "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."
Despite blunders of enormous magnitude (e.g., slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and the imprisonment of American Japanese), Americans have for the most part taken their freedoms with the utmost seriousness. We have not allowed ourselves to be ruled by tyrannies, dictators or bureaucracies. We like our taxes low and our freedoms high. We tore ourselves asunder to wipe away slavery's stain. In the past ninety or so years, when we've fought wars, we haven't attempted to conquer other people. Instead, since 1917, we've shed our American blood to free others from their domestic tyrannies.
As to this last point -- namely, America's willingness to strive for freedom on behalf of other nations -- those on the Left who sneer at our "imperialist ventures" are implicitly siding with Hitler, with the North Koreans, with the Communist North Vietnamese, and with Saddam Hussein (mass murderer of his own people). While ordinary Americans have died so that others on foreign shores can live free, the Left lauds those who would deny their own citizens (or the citizens of conquered nations) the same freedoms we unthinkingly enjoy.
Our American essence, therefore, can be defined as follows: American individuals are free from control by, and fear of, their own government, and the American nation is free from control by other nations.
Barack Obama stands out as the first American president whose every instinct is contrary to America's essence. At home, every single one of his initiatives is directed at increasing government control in every area, with a corresponding decrease in individual liberty. Here's an incomplete bullet-point list of his anti-liberty goals on the home front:
- He wants to deny individuals access to the marketplace --where they can make their own decisions about their own health care -- and instead put the government entirely in charge.
- He's willing to give government control over American businesses (e.g., the bank takeovers and Government Motors).
- His administration, while on record as opposing the Fairness Doctrine, is aggressively exploring a backdoor regulatory scheme that would have precisely the same practical effect as the Fairness Doctrine: it would impose government restrictions on content, rather than allowing the market (that means us, the consumers) to control content.
- His FCC wants to control the internet, a humming beehive of free speech (much of it critical of Obama).
- As his loud battles with Rush Limbaugh and Fox News illustrate, he desires a single-party press, not a free one.
- He believes that now that he is in power, the opposition should shut up and "get out of the way," a notion that runs directly counter to the First Amendment.
- Although he's mostly erased the record that once existed in cyberspace, his dream is to create a civilian national security force, subordinate to the administration, which would be larger than the American military. The military, please note, is controlled by the Constitution and has traditionally existed separate from, but subordinate to, the rest of the American government.
- He wants to take away the right to bear arms. He'll pay lip service to supporting the Second Amendment, but his fundamental goal is to use government to remove arms from individuals.
- In a stunning blow to the freedom of born alive infants, he is one of a handful of politicians nationwide who believes it is appropriate to leave such infants to die alone and untended. With few exceptions, even those whose politics are entirely colored by a pro-choice viewpoint couldn't swallow this approach.
- Without money, people have no choices. The more money the government siphons to itself, the fewer choices we as individuals have. Although he dresses it as fairness (it's "fair" for the "lucky" to pay substantially more), Obama believes that it's government's role to "spread the wealth." That may be "fair," but it's not consistent with liberty, hard work, and individual choices.
Of course, not all of these Obama dreams will become reality. His health care initiative is struggling, he's trying to flush his civilian security force theory down the memory hole, he's humiliated himself in his battles with Limbaugh and Fox, and he's generally doing a fancy dance by which he tries to hide his authoritarian impulses (as, for example, his attack on the Second Amendment). But those practical realities don't matter. This post isn't about what Obama will actually do. It's about what he wants to do, what his desires are vis à vis the American people -- and it's very clear that his desires are antithetical to the American essence. He wants to limit or destroy individual liberties.
When it comes to America's role abroad, Obama's impulses are also all antithetical to liberty and American independence. Again, here is an incomplete list of examples of Barack Obama's innate preference for tyranny over liberty:
- Through selective punishments and rewards, he has turned against the only democratic nation in the Middle East (that would be Israel) in favor of the bloodied tyrannical theocracies on her borders.
- By reversing his pledge to keep a missile defense system in place in Poland and the Czech Republic, he has favored Iran's Muslim tyranny over these democratic nations only so recently freed from Communism.
- Figuratively and literally, he bows to dictators (Saudis, Venezuelans, Russians, Iranians, Cubans, etc.). In other words, contrary to America's hundred-year history of siding with the people against their tyrants, he sides with the tyrants against their people.
- In Honduras, he has sided with the delusional Manuel Zelaya against the people and their Constitution.
- In Iran, when the people took to the streets against a corrupt dictatorship, through his silence and muted statements, he effectively sided with the megalomaniac theocracy and against the people.
- In his much-heralded speech to the Muslim world, in addition to grounding Israel's right to exist solely on a Holocaust the Muslim world denies, he repeatedly and noisily trumpeted the right of Muslim men to control Muslim women, a trope he reiterated in subsequent speeches.
- In his global speeches, he assures tyrannies the world over that America is abandoning her century-old role as the world's policeman against megalomaniacs and tyrants. They are freed from any constraint.
- By joining the farce that is the U.N. Human Rights Council, he is lending America's imprimatur to the most violently anti-Semitic, authoritarian, dictatorial, anti-American political body in the world.
- Through his waffling in Afghanistan, both in terms of ideology (why are we fighting?) and practical matters (troops! we need troops!), he is emboldening Al Qaeda and the Taliban, while simultaneously painting targets on the backs of our armed forces.
- As part of his belief in the increasingly discredited notion of climate change, he stands ready to cede American sovereignty to a U.N. body that can control American wealth distribution and police the American body politic.
With the exception of the last item, and unlike the list regarding Obama's domestic goals, the above bullet-points are not made up of things Obama merely wishes he can do. They are composed of things Obama has already done. He has subordinated America and her values to some of the worst actors on the globe.
America is no longer the symbol of liberty around the world. She's just another nation -- and worse, one whose leader, by temperament and political belief, has more reverence for dictatorships than democracies. In other words, when Obama deals with the world outside America, he again denies America's essence, which has so long marked her as the symbol of and standard-bearer for freedom.
Just as an orange deprived of its color becomes the anti-orange, it's reasonable to state that because the overwhelming number of Barack Obama's desires and actions are antithetical to America's essence, he is in fact anti-American. He's not merely making little changes around the edges, smoothing away rough spots, augmenting existing traits, or getting rid of a few ugly cankers. Instead, both at home and abroad, Barack Obama is trying to destroy America's essence, that commitment to liberty that makes her unique in this world, and that makes her uniquely American.