It’s a good thing, I believe, to remember the dead — especially in a culture that trivializes death. We shunt it aside to the fantastic realms of video games and movies, and call it by other names when we do it to old people and unborn infants, and all of this is a way, I think, of grasping life in the wrong way, in a way that reveals the underlying belief, for many of us, that our lives are about our gratification.
That’s such a big word for an experience that is so very small. Gratification is as far removed from joy as hunger is from a great feast, and yet we forsake the latter in pursuit of the former because joy, like a feast, requires sacrifice.
So it’s a good thing to remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice for others. Think on them, and if you like you can light a candle or mutter a prayer, a prayer that you and I and the rest of the world will, if only for a slender day, give ourselves over to loving someone other than ourselves, which means the great sacrifice of setting down our hurts and lusts and grievances and entitlements, all of which are chains with heavy anchors, but which we gather to us like treasures. But today, if only for today, what say we lay them down?
Once a nation under a Constitution that restricted government intrusion, we now want government to provide for our “needs” by calling them “rights.”
We now ask government to prop up failing businesses, make student loans, guarantee mortgages, build and maintain public housing, financially support state education from preschool though graduate school, fund private research, provide disaster relief and aid, pay “volunteers” and on and on.
Many in our nation happily submit to this bargain. They consider the Big Three entitlements — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — “rights,” their absence unimaginable in a modern “caring” society. It is out of the question to expect people, families and communities to plan for retirement. It is beyond reason to expect medical care, like any other commodity, to follow the laws of supply and demand — for prices and choices to allocate resources and for competition to drive down prices and improve quality. It is simply too much to expect the compassion, morality and spirituality of humankind to aid those unable to care for themselves.
“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws – the first growing out of the last. … A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” –Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, 1794
“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson, fair copy of the drafts of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798
“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people … must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33
Does our Constitution allow the Executive and Legislative branches to collaborate to confer authority upon the federal government over, in this case, so-called “health care reform”?
Those who laid the Foundation of our Constitution were crystal clear about its enumeration of both the authority and limits upon the central government.
James Madison, our Constitution’s primary author, wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined [and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.”
Madison continued, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”
To that point, Thomas Jefferson asserted: “[G]iving [Congress] a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole [Constitution] to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly, no such universal power was meant to be given them. [The Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”
Clearly, our Constitution, does not authorize Congress to nationalize health care, anymore than it authorizes Congress to do most of what it does today.
[Bold emphasis added. –R]
“There are those, of course, who claim we must give up freedom in exchange for economic progress. Well, pardon me, but anyone trying to sell you that line is no better than a three-card-trick man. One thing becoming more clear every day is that freedom and progress go hand in hand. Throughout the developing world, people are rejecting socialism because they see that it doesn’t empower people, it impoverishes them.” –Ronald Reagan
Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn’t just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.
F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote “The Road to Serfdom” in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom.
Hayek meant that governments can’t plan economies without planning people’s lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama’s economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government’s single plan.
At the beginning of “The Road to Serfdom,” Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that’s at stake when the government controls our lives: “The most important change … is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people.”
This shouldn’t be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can’t help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.
According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest?
Surely it is a sign of Providence that my best friend shares a birthday celebration with our first President.
The Patriot Post:
As friend of The Patriot, Matthew Spalding, a Heritage Foundation scholar, reminds: “Although it was celebrated as early as 1778, and by the early 19th Century was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday, Congress did not officially recognize Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday until 1870. The Monday Holiday Law in 1968 — applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11582 in 1971 — moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as ‘Washington’s Birthday.’ Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed ‘Washington’s Birthday’ to ‘Presidents’ Day.’“
In honor of and with due respect for our first and (we believe) greatest president, arguably our nation’s most outstanding Patriot, we include two quotes from George Washington which best embody his dedication to liberty and God. The first from his First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789, and the second from his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796.
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People.”
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.”
[Emphasis added. –R]
The laws of war are the rule of law. They are not a suspension of the Constitution. They are the Constitution operating in wartime. The Framers understood that there would be wars against enemies of the United States–it is stated explicitly in the Constitution’s treason clause (Art. III, Sec. 3). The American people understand that we have enemies, even if Washington sees them as political “engagement” partners waiting to happen. Americans also grasp that war is a political and military challenge that the nation has to win, not a judicial proceeding in which your enemies are presumed innocent. The rule of law is not and has never been the rule of lawyers–especially lawyers we can’t vote out of office when they say we must let trained terrorists move in next door.
As for privacy, Americans are not as self-absorbed as ACLU staffers–who, by the way, reserve the right to search your bags before you enter their offices. If you fret about privacy, it’s Obamacare that ought to give you sleepless nights. The lefties who’ve told us for nearly 40 years since Roe v. Wade that the government can’t come between you and your doctor are now saying you shouldn’t be able to get to a doctor except through the government, which will decide if you’re worth treating–that is an invasion of privacy. Penetrating enemy communications, on the other hand, is what Americans think of as self-defense. It’s what we’ve done in every war in our history. It’s what common sense says we must do to win. And when America goes to war, Americans want to win.
And our reputation in the international community? Reputation with whom? Sharia states where they stone adulterers, brutalize homosexuals, and kill their own daughters in the name of honor? Rogue regimes where exhibitions of American weakness are taken as license to mutilate? Euro-nannies who rely on us for protection because they’re without the will and the resources to do the job themselves? They ought to worry about their own reputations. In the United States, only the blame-America-first crowd gives an Obama-dollar what they think. That crowd does not include about 80 percent of Americans who look around at their country, look at the teeming masses trying to get into it, and figure this is a pretty good place after all.