Freedom isn’t free. Contrary to what is usually meant by that phrase, what I mean is that what Americans call freedom today isn’t anywhere close to real freedom.
Consider this post on Forbes.com: “Obama To America: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free.” It is written by an “Objectivist”—a follower of the atheist writer, Ayn Rand. An excerpt:
We radical capitalists say that it was the regulatory-welfare state that imploded in 2008. You may disagree, but let’s argue that out, rather than engaging in the Big Lie that what failed was laissez-faire and individualism.
The question is: in the messy mixture of government controls and remnants of capitalism, which element caused the Great Depression and the recent financial crisis?
By raising that question, we uncover the fundamental: the meaning of capitalism and the meaning of government controls. Capitalism means freedom. Government means force.
Suddenly, the whole issue comes into focus: Obama is saying that freedom leads to poverty and force leads to wealth. He’s saying: “Look, we tried leaving you free to live your own life, and that didn’t work. You have to be forced, you have to have your earnings seized by the state, you have to work under our directions–under penalty of fines or imprisonment. You don’t deserve to be free.”
As a bit of ugly irony, this is precisely what former white slave-owners said after the Civil War: “The black man can’t handle freedom; we have to force him for his own good.” The innovation of the Left is to extend that viewpoint to all races.
On the positive side, this essay easily dispatches the utter nonsense that 2008 was a failure of the free-market. On the unfortunate side, it advocates the Randian fantasy that the individual is the highest authority and that human governments are mostly unnecessary.
Look at the nightmares we created in Iraq and Libya, and which we partially achieved in places like Egypt and Syria. When evil and folly reign supreme in the human heart, tyrants are necessary to restrain the utter mayhem of the mob.
The reason Rand could even plausibly suggest Objectivism was that she was living in the largely Christian West—she could never have gotten a hearing for it in contemporary Kabul, or Benghazi. When you grant a semblance of freedom to people controlled by base passions it’s not long till the blood flows.
So, Obama is—in a very real sense—correct: Modern Americans don’t deserve to be free. Many who hold money and power (Wolf of Wall Street, anyone, and the politicians and bureaucrats who take campaign cash to look the other way) are nothing more than beasts in fancy clothes, who need to be restrained from without, since they are not restrained from within.
On the other hand, what Barack Obama refuses to admit is that he does not deserve the power and freedom to enslave and plunder us, either. His envy-driven worldview is yet another flawed and futile human attempt to change human hearts from the outside-in.
No final conclusions here… simply a conversation starter. What say you?