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Our Collectivist Candidates

2008-05-29 16:10:40.451964+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

David Boaz in the Wall Street Journal:

But hypocrisy is not the biggest issue. The real issue is that Messrs. Obama and McCain are telling us Americans that our normal lives are not good enough, that pursuing our own happiness is "self-indulgence," that building a business is "chasing after our money culture," that working to provide a better life for our families is a "narrow concern."

They're wrong. Every human life counts. Your life counts. You have a right to live it as you choose, to follow your bliss. You have a right to seek satisfaction in accomplishment. And if you chase after the almighty dollar, you just might find that you are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of others.

I think that one of the scariest quotes in American history is JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country", as though, like the subjects of monarchies, we exist to serve the nation rather than vice-versa. It's a damned shame that once again those who'd use their political clout for their own personal gain are once again calling on patriotism to selfishly bleed us.

Via Cafe Hayek starting with Mark Atwood's link.

[ related topics: Politics moron Sociology Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-29 16:56:28.715214+00 by: ebradway

I think JFK's quote can be read very differently. Maybe the answer to "what can you do for your country" is to build a business and employ others. You can also read "ask not what your country can do for you" as "stop depending on your government to bail you out when you take on a stupid mortgage".

Overall, even if you don't spin JFK the way I did here, his brand of patriotism is infinitely better than the patriotism demanded by The Decider. JFK's patriotism was working towards a common goal. GW's patriotism is blindly following him as he declares war on another country.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-29 17:31:03.795483+00 by: JT

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shank from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
Taken in context, this appears to be more of a call to arms than a call for citizens to obey the will of the government.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-29 20:25:30.976625+00 by: Dan Lyke

I dunno, if you go back to the beginning of that speech:

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom - symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning - signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. ...

It again starts to sound more like "march in step, conform to the will of the majority".

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-29 22:42:43.292939+00 by: ziffle

Typically everyone can hear just what they want to in most all politicians speeches.

Ayn Rand hit the nail on the Head: The Fascist New Frontier

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-30 02:27:24.250198+00 by: TheSHAD0W [edit history]

Democrat: Ask what your country can do for you.
Republican: Ask what you can do for your country.
Libertarian: Don't ask, don't tell.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-30 10:43:38.1323+00 by: DaveP

I get funny looks from folks when I tell them that, aside from a few narrow issues like guns, there isn't all that much difference between the candidates, and if they're expecting any of them (I'm still counting Hillary, because until the stake is through her heart, I can't believe she'll quit) to "fix" the economy, they're confused.

All are going to push for a bigger, more intrusive government. It's what the majority wants, and has wanted ever since women got the vote.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-30 13:09:02.412593+00 by: ziffle [edit history]

Well DaveP you are brave .. and very correct.

Recently I read that we had passed the magic mark: 52% of Americans receive money from the government.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-30 20:15:30.8949+00 by: ebradway

DaveP: I think you've hit the nail on the head. We now have a government that starting, more and more, to reflect the values of the other half of humankind, the Y-chromosome-challenged half, that has been repressed through force for the past couple millenia.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-30 21:25:43.946285+00 by: Dan Lyke

Or we have a reflection of a subset of the culture that expected paternalism, to tie this back to that other thread about "is making them wiser at the expense of their happiness ethical?".

#Comment Re: made: 2008-05-31 11:45:46.977755+00 by: DaveP

Well, I don't think I'm particularly brave. I didn't expect a ton of fallout about that comment from the gang here at Flutterby.

But as more than one ex- has pointed out I "think too much." That's a valid enough point, but maybe not a valid criticism. And one of the thoughts that's trickled out of that thinking over the years is that I see the desire for paternalism as a desire to give up control. And that just doesn't work for me.

I'm equally certain that I have no real desire to be dominant. I don't want to tell others how to live their lives or lead a team at work. I want to go off into my corner, and be left alone to do what I do best. Heck, I don't even like organizing a carpool.

The problems begin when that sort of thinking bumps into the ugly reality of other people who don't also hold such views. If I could crack that nut, I'd probably be a lot happier.

Anyway, I could ramble for hours. As Goethe said: "'Know thyself?' If I knew myself, I'd run away." And yet I still continue to try and figure myself out. Maybe I'm happiest being unhappy. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, I tells ya. Or maybe it's just a sign that I need some breakfast to get my blood-sugar ramped up for the day.