And my Tea Party was hateful?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Matter of Principle

Every few years the American electorate converges on their local polling precinct to pull the now metaphorical lever for the candidate of his or her choice. Obama has a lead over McCain; however, the degree of the lead subject to debate. Prior elections focused on single issues including abortion, guns rights, gay marriage, and national security (among others). The 2008 Presidential election has become a battle of ideology and the voting population has to choose to select one candidate or the another.

The Obama campaign threatens the core of what I have come to love about my country and that for which it stands. The positive-rights philosophy Obama supports is contrary to the intentions of the founding fathers. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”. Most Americans interpret the First Amendment as, simply, "the freedom of speech".

In reality, the founding fathers labored to prevent the government from restricting what you can say. They did this because they knew that insuring the speech of all Americans to be equally free would be impossible. Politicians and media personalities are able to broadcast their message to millions. I type feverously in a home office for a hand-full of delightful readers. My message will not travel the distance that Senator Obama’s World Series infomercial will. Does this mean that my speech less free? Is the federal government required to balance the inequities between our statements?

No, the Founding Fathers were aware that life is not fair. Regardless of the rules imposed upon us by the government, some individuals will have more. In a free society, as outlined by the authors of the Constitution, each individual has the right to “pursue happiness” with the aid of their talents and work ethic. The responsibility of government was not to intrude on this pursuit. The concept of positive rights, which Obama ascribes (see Obama and Redistribution video below), would require the government to ensure our rights through some sort of action. When governments determine how a right is to be executed, the individual is no longer the guarantor of that right. A right guaranteed by the government is not a right because a right is “inalienable’. What the government gives; it can take away. Thus, that right is not “inalienable”.

Extending the concept of positive rights to the issues of housing, health care, employment and education compounds the issue of fairness and undermines the principles of our Constitution. Obama and his constituency believe the government needs to ensure more of our necessities. Government cannot and should not try to level the playing field.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are uninsured, homeless or poorly educated. Millions of other Americans have been these uninsured, homeless or poorly educated and decided to change. If the government were to insure all of these desires, would the desire be filled in a manner to adequate to your satisfaction? Who is the government to decide what type of housing is adequate? What type of job is appropriate? What medicines and procedures are to be covered by insurance?

As the government takes hold of these “positive-rights”, these decisions are no longer ours to make. Some will decide how resources will be allocated to meet the needs of the whole. Since the government creates no wealth or product, the resources to promote the aforementioned programs must come from somewhere else. When I imagine a free society, a few people determining my destiny does not come to mind. I do not believe the Founding Fathers did either.

But no one listens to me
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