Rarely, if ever, do I hear something accurate come out of Obama's mouth and I was flabbergasted to hear him utter something that is not only true but profound (but I'm sure he didn't know it). On October 20, 2010 the President gave a speech in Portland, Oregon where he stated the real issue in the upcoming election: "But we also believe in a country where we look after one another; where we say, I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. That's the America I know. That's the choice in this election."
And he is right. The choice in the upcoming election boils down to whether you think you are your brother's keeper or whether you have a right to live your own life as you see fit.
The concept of being our brother's keeper has been drilled into us since childhood. We have been told that there are others who are "less fortunate" and that it is our "duty" to take care of them. We have been told that it is bad to want to do things for your own life that will advance and enhance it because you should be focused on helping others.
I want to state that there is nothing wrong whatsoever with helping someone else, provided that it is what you want to do and provided that you and the recipient gain some value from it. We help family and friends because their happiness and well being is important to us. We even help strangers because we know that we, or someone we love, might need some help someday so we perform an act of benevolence. In addition, we just plain value human life, so we help.
But the problem is to say that we have to help others, that their lives are our responsibility. This paves the way for all the social programs of Socialism where the government takes from some against their will to give to others on the basis of purported need. Think of all the government programs where this is done: Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, public education, welfare programs, government loans, bailouts, Obamacare, housing subsidies, government grants, on and on ad nauseum. Confiscation of wealth by governments is done with the justification that others need it more than the individuals who earned it. Yet who exactly defines what a need is and who determines how much is enough to steal from one American to give to that person in "need"? Hmmm, let's see now, could it by any chance be the politicians who want, um, power? Or could it be the blood sucking looters who want to get their sticky hands on money earned by the producers?
Note that the politicians and money grabbers are never called greedy, only the people who want to keep what they have worked for are honored with that adjective. Also, have you ever noticed how much appreciation the producers receive for all the money that is taken from them for their "brothers"? You haven't? That's because they don't get any. I have never seen one public or private letter or article thanking taxpayers for all their help. There are only complaints that it isn't enough.
There is only one word to describe a system where people are required against their will to work for the welfare of others: slavery. Ideas matter and it is ideas that are at the root of our problems. If Americans truly want to get rid of our current acceleration towards Socialism, we need to reject the idea that is responsible for it. We must reject the notion that we are our brother's keeper, we must stop sanctioning our own slavery and return to the idea of the Founding Fathers that we have a right to pursue our own happiness.
The election coming up on Tuesday is much more important and fundamental than whether or not we will have fiscal responsibility. The choice is whether our lives belong to us or to the government. As a matter of fact, I think this should be the slogan that the Republicans run on: "Your life belongs to you, not to the government."
Vote accordingly. The future of America depends on it.
Charlotte Cushman is a Montessori educator at Minnesota Renaissance School, Anoka, Minnesota and has been involved in the study of Ayn Rand's philosophy since 1970.