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The distinctive principle of Western social philosophy is individualism. It aims at the creation of a sphere in which the individual is free to think, to choose, and to act without being restrained by the interference of the social apparatus of coercion and oppression, the State. All the spiritual and material achievements of Western civilization were the result of the operation of this idea of liberty.
-Ludwig von Mises
President Obama clearly believes government’s purpose is to direct and mold people and society. This is the core mindset of the “progressives,” where superior elites plan, direct and mold society. Recently, in Roanoke, the President exclaimed:
"If you've got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."
“If you’ve been successful you didn’t get there on your own.” Obama said. “I’m always struck by people who think ‘well, it must be because I was just so smart’. There are a lot of smart people out there! ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’ Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there!”
This is contrary to what propelled (a)ll the spiritual and material achievements of Western civilization as analyzed by Ludwig von Mises. “The distinctive principle of Western social philosophy is individualism. It aims at the creation of a sphere in which the individual is free to think, to choose, and to act without being restrained by the interference of the social apparatus of coercion and oppression, the State.”
Each person’s thinking, choosing, acting and freely exchanging with whomever they wish is the essence of an American. The personal and infinite exchanges of ideas and products, coupled with every person's freedom to work, save, buy and sell is vastly more liberating, fruitful and dynamic than a centrally planned and controlled government.
In opposition to individualism, Obama’s comments recite the “progressive creed” which had its roots in 19th Century Germany. Generally, the progressives believed an elite cadre could mold and form better humans and superior societies. Naturally, the progressive beliefs were popular with politicians, academics, bureaucrats, and the mainstream media – recently all of these cohorts have defended or revised the President’s comments.
In America, the “progressive creed” has dominated the philosophy of politics since the Great Depression and FDR. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, Unemployment, Food Stamps, Dodd-Frank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and hundreds more are programs controlled by politicians, academics and bureaucrats. These elites command and control all areas of American life – environment, medical, banking, transportation, education, housing, energy, agriculture and more - the list is almost endless.
The President’s Roanoke lecture was, in reality, defending the “progressive agenda.” Of course, the President did not mention the intrusions and costs to each American and society.
These costs – personally and financially – are enormous. Financially, the progressive/welfare state cannot be sustained. Without a doubt, Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare and Medicaid cannot be maintained. Gigantic taxes must be extracted or the “entitlements” must be radically altered. Worse, bureaucratic and regulatory burdens greatly increase the costs of products. Eventually, every American will pay dearly for our big coercive government.
Personally, Americans have become dependant upon government. Worse, academics, bureaucrats, main-stream media and Mr. Obama ridicule the character traits which made America exceptional – hard work, saving, investing and striving.
Because of the financial costs, the “progressive agenda” is being scrutinized. Other “progressive governments” are failing. Greece, California, Spain, Illinois, and yes, America have enormous debt, and are virtually bankrupt. All the welfare, unemployment, tax and stimulus schemes have failed. Americans are frightened and concerned. Meanwhile, President Obama and his cadre of academics and bureaucrats continue to decree additional costs and regulatory burdens.
Perilously, America is at a crucial juncture. Do we continue with the “progressive agenda,” or do we embrace the principles of individualism and freedom? Directly, do we halt being controlled by government - being restrained by the interference of the social apparatus of coercion and oppression, the State?
The leading antagonist to Obama and his elite cadre is Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). Dedicated and knowledgeable Ryan knows the government-centered society and a government-directed economy is doomed to fail. Referring the Roanoke proclamation, Ryan responds as recorded by The American Enterprise Institute:
His (Obama’s) comments seem to derive from a naive vision of a government-centered society and a government-directed economy. It stems from an idea that the nucleus of society and the economy is government not the people.
Central government planning are the failed policies of the 20th Century. Unabashed, Obama and his elite cadre continue to direct and control We the People. Again, Mr. Ryan:
… It is antithetical to the American idea. We believe in free communities, and this is a statist attack on free communities. … As all of his big government spending programs fail to restore jobs and growth, he seems to be retreating into a statist vision of government direction and control of a free society that looks backward to the failed ideologies of the 20th century.
Ryan intently studies philosophy and the mechanics of governance – especially budgets. Paul Ryan understands the power of individualism and the personal and economic benefits of freedom. Because of his dedication and political power, Paul Ryan is a very a unique leader for liberty.
Soon, very soon, Americans must choose Obama’s “progressive paternalism” or Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. Are we ruled by a cadre of politicians, academics and bureaucrats? Are we a nation of laws protecting individual initiative and freedom?
At some point, in the near future, economic forces – world markets and domestic stagnation - will force America to choose. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity is the choice for freedom and prosperity.