May 6, 2013 0
Obama’s speech at Ohio state is drawing a lot of comments, noted here is from Jonah Goldberg in The National Review, Obama: The Only Thing We Need to Fear Is Fear of Tyranny.
I like America’s instinctual fear of tyranny. It is single best bulwark against, you know, tyranny. It’s a bipartisan tendency by the way. Conservatives tend to fret most over government exceeding its Constitutional authority to encroach on civil society. The left tends to fret over excesses in the government’s constitutional obligation to protect our citizens from crime and foreign threats. Libertarians have an abundance of both concerns. Not surprisingly, I tend to find the left’s excesses more annoying than the right’s (“Oh no, the state is trying too hard to fight our enemies!”) but both instincts are healthy and shared to one extent or another by all Americans. It is the fundamental dogma of Americanness and I for one would hate to see it erode further.
from Jonathan Tobin at Commentary Citizenship and Obama’s Opposition
At the heart of his address was an attack on the idea that “government is the source of our problems.” In response to this stereotypical straw man, Obama said the answer to such sentiments is a defense of collective action. Reading between the lines, it’s easy to see the president’s agenda is to blame conservatives who are suspicious of big government for the dysfunction in Washington and to claim they are the obstacle to the grand liberal project of “rebuild[ing] a middle class, and reverse the rise of inequality, and repair the deteriorating climate that threatens everything we plan to leave for our kids and our grandkids.” But while any call for more participation in our democratic process is to be welcomed, calling his conservative critics “cynics” who are impeding progress misreads the intent of the Founders he cites. They created a system designed to place curbs on the ambitions of politicians like Barack Obama. If contemporary Americans are suspicious of his big government projects, they are acting in the spirit of those who wrote our Constitution, not as self-interested elites trying to harm the people.
What Barack Obama needs to come to terms with is that his opposition is not just a cabal of right-wing capitalists. Distrust of government is part of the DNA of American democracy. Those who are against Obama’s big government agenda constitute a significant portion of the American people and can look to the founders and the Constitution as their guide. The president can certainly seek to argue against their beliefs, but he should not do so by questioning their sincerity or dedication to the betterment of the nation any more than they should personally abuse him in this manner. If what he wants is a more involved citizenry, we applaud and concur in this appeal. But what the president must understand is that many of those who answer that call will do so in opposition to his program and can look to the original sources of American democratic principles for their inspiration.
The presidents speech is typical of those who create false choice of two extremes. As Goldberg points out there is a continuum of social institutions between the individual and the federal government. Fear of big government is as American as apple pie.
True liberals such as Louis Brandeis knew that big business was a threat but he also understood that big government was an equal or greater threat. What we now have is a collusion of both; an economy where the rich get richer and those at the bottom suffer- while the government controls every aspect of our lives. It is a crony capitalist and lobbyist dreamworld Obama is making this situation worse.
We have ignored decades of government policy and regulation that led us to economic collapse and succeeded in blaming big business. As we expand government to oversee business who will oversee the government?
That is the duty of the citizens that Obama seeks to ignore.