• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Government Is Not Us

    This past Saturday President Barack Obama turned the commencement speech at the University Michigan into a full-throated defense of his big government agenda.

    At this Monday’s Heritage Foundation President’s Club meeting, nationally syndicated talk-show host and New York Times Best-Selling author Mark Levin responded:

    In a speech on Saturday, Obama said that “what troubles me is when I hear people say that all of government is inherently bad. When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that our democracy, government is us.” He added that “Throwing around phrases like ‘socialists’ and ‘Soviet-style takeover,’ ‘fascists’ and ‘right-wing nut’ – that may grab headlines,” but it also “closes the door to the possibility of compromise…At its worst, it can send signals to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is a justifiable response.”

    We conservatives don’t hate government. We revere the Constitution. Government that exists within the framework of the Constitution is legitimate and worthy not only of our respect, but our defense. Government is not us, as Obama put it, when a president and Congress usurp the will of the people in matters as far-reaching as health care, cap-and-trade, and immigration. They operate in secret, they reject any real input from the other party and the American people, and use the law to plunder and punish us, not promote this society. How do you compromise with such an ideology and abuse of authority? You don’t. You defeat it. If you want respect and support, Mr. Obama, then respect and support 200 years of American history, traditions, customs and beliefs.

    Conservatives do not send messages to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is justifiable. You might recall, Mr. Obama, that we embrace ordered liberty and civil society. It is you and your true believers who are always charging the ramparts, always looking for something or someone to tear down, always looking to transform and transgress. To accuse people who rightly, legitimately, and peacefully protest object to your abuse of power of fomenting possible violence is contemptible intimidation tactic. We conservatives reject the likes of William Ayers and Louis Farrakhan, just as we reject the likes of Timothy McVeigh and the neo-Nazis. We don’t hire lawyers for al-Qaeda terrorists and place them in the highest positions of the Justice Department. You do. What kind of signal does that send the kooks and loons? We conservatives do not encourage violence against the government or any government official. We actually support law enforcement. Do you?

    I don’t give a lot of speeches, as by now you can probably tell, but I close every speech I do give with a quote from Ronald Reagan — the same quote I use to close my book, Liberty and Tyranny, and which Obama might find offensive or even provocative. Reagan said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”

    God bless you.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to The Government Is Not Us

    1. Leo, California says:

      The problem with many of today's conservatives it that they don't live up to the second sentence in the quote: "We revere the Constitution". They talk the talk, until it interferes with their ideology – or campaign success.

      Example: John McCain and Steve King today both arguing that the New York City car bomb suspect should not have been read his Miranda rights – even when he turned out to be a naturalized US Citizen. The right to a fair trial and not to self-incriminate are firmly within the Constitution.

      Example: McCain, AZ Governor Jan Brewer and a slew of others backing AZ SB1070, which violates protections afforded in the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.

      For folks who "revere the Constitution", these examples are fairly clear examples that the reverence is more akin to lip service.

      This comment is not intended to be a litany to document false conservatism or politics diguised as conservatism, but merely to point out that before Mr. Levin rails against those on the opposite side of the political fence, perhaps he should look to straighten up his own house first. If conservatives are to be taken seriously in terms of their desire to follow the Constitution, perhaps their prominent voices should actually do so.

    2. Chris, Northern Virg says:

      Just a quick note —

      Mark Levin is not — repeat not — responsible for what other Conservatives say (amazing revelation, yes, that there is some diversity of opinion under that umbrella?), hence he is in no way responsible to "straighten up his own house."

      Each of us are individually responsible for our own words and deeds. We can encourage, exhort and, when necessary, challenge the words and deeds of others, but no one of us has been appointed Chief-of-Thought-and-word Police (or even a junior deputy), although there are plenty of folks in our society who are running around sporting their own homemade badges to make citizens' arrests.

      I respectfully, yet forcefully, disagree that our latest Jihadi should be denied his rights as an American citizen. I agree, whether it jives with anyone's sense of lynch-mob revenge, that the most heinous American citizen who has just committed the most hidious crime is still afforded the full protection of our legal system and the Constitution.

      Conversely, contrary to some of our more Progressive brethren, the Constituion can only be changed "to our liking" by following its own prescribed method, not via judicial fiat or personal whim.

      Food for thought — for food — for thought ——–

    3. John Lofton, Recover says:

      Forget, please, "conservatism." It has been, operationally, de facto, Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

      "[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

      Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

      John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com

      Recovering Republican


    4. MJF, CT says:

      While some of our Californian brothers want to try to teach us how to be a Conservative, let me remind our brothers and sisters West of the Rockies that California is NOT a representation of what the Conservative movement is supposed to be.

      First of all, Mr. McCain and Mr. King are not Conservatives, they are Republicans that will say what ever it takes to get votes. In other words, they are moderates who sway like a tree in the wind. All US citizens should be read their Miranda Rights upon arrest and for that fact, anyone arrested within the US boarders should be afforded this without question. No Conservative would argue this as we stand FOR the rights afforded in the Constitution and the protection of law abiding citizens and visitors

      However, when you are dealing with those who cross our boarders with no regard for our laws, you are talking about criminals. Yes, all of these people who entered our country illegally are CRIMINALS and that is what Liberals cannot understand. It matters not what their reasons for coming to the US are, they came in illegally and the Federal government failed in its duty to stop the problem. In fact, States like California welcomed these trespassers by changing their laws and regulations to suit these people and "make them feel at home". Why do you think States like California are going broke? They are pouring so much money into programs that support the illegal population that the tax payers cannot handle it anymore.

      So when the people of a State like Arizona say "that's enough!" and try to put a stop to the situation, the Liberals go off the deep end. Liberals do not worry about the law abiding citizens and card carrying visitors, they worry about the criminals. The Liberals do not see the damage that the illegals are doing to the economy and the structure of our Country – that is until they see the bills and then it's too late.

      My Liberal brother from CA, we cannot support the infusion of illegals into our Country any longer. The Federal government has failed to stop this infusion by failing to enforce the laws that are already in place. My Liberal brother from CA, understand that if the punk that robs the liquor store has broken the law and is subject to arrest and conviction by that law. My Liberal Brother from CA, a person who enters our Country illegally is a CRIMINAL not a poor soul in the night. That person has broken the law and must be dealt with according to that law. This is the same law that was in place early in the 20th Century which saw the influx of Europeans and Asians to this Country. In other words, my Liberal brother from CA, if the law was good enough for my grandfather, why is not good enough for the five people that just crossed the US – Mexican boarder two minutes ago?

    5. ROBERT COLORADO says:

      I don't believe it fair to characterize Mr. Levin's remarks as a "rail." The synonym for the word "rail" are "bellow, rage, denounce and condemn " to name just a few. The author engages in a polemic style so characteristic of liberals; it is to attack, defame and libel the speaker. It is no accident, for example, that the Left has a condemnatory word for every issue, one intended to silence and intimidate, for example. "homophobe, nativist,xenophobe" the list is endless and reveals a frame of mind more interested in stopping rather than engaging in debate.

      That said, Senator McCain, I believe, will do or say anything that improves his chances of reelection. The writer is correct in that there is no exception to the Miranda rule to allow incrimination. McCain's statement to the contrary is self-serving nonsense. His position is an irony in light of the fact that he inserted 14th and 5th amendments rights to terrorists in terrorist legislation which conferred Miranda rights.

      Frankly, when one considers the potential damage that a terrorist is capable of inflicting, I believe the Miranda rights should be denied. The Leftist imposition of Miranda and the suppression of relevant evidence under the "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" theory has led to an increase in crime and vulnerability to terrorist attack. Holder and the Supreme Court have extended the same rights to those who are not citizens of this country. This extension is of course irrational and dangerous.

    6. Troy, Kansas says:

      @Leo: It sounds like you've been getting your information about AZ 1070 from the MSM. If you look at the wording of the bill, it simply instructs local law enforcement to confirm citizenship status with federal law enforcement. Local police use national registries for all sorts of information during traffic stops, investigations, etc. If you were stopped for a routine traffic violation, and was asked for some type of identification, would you object or would you claim 4th Amendment protections?

      I agree with you on the NY car bomb suspect. As a citizen, he should mirandized. However, we need to look at how he was able to become naturalized in the first place. Clearly, the naturalization process is flawed.

    7. Mark, Austin, TX says:

      This is why they call him "The Great One". Well said Mark!

    8. Scott S. says:

      Mr. Levin truly is The Great One. If you have not experienced the Mark Levin Show or read Liberty and Tyranny you are missing out on a national conservative treasure. All the major talk show hosts are well-versed and well-spoken, but hardly any have the background and experience behind their convictions like Levin does. His rants are some of the best on the air and he is quickly becoming my de facto standard for talk radio and conservative ideals. nothing against the other great hosts, but none puts things in perspective like Levin. He doesnt just comment on daily politcal news, he teaches. And even the longest and most-versed of conservatives learn from his books and show. It's great to see him on heritage.

    9. Frank Ceja says:

      Thank you for very positive and correct words they are our words also. God bless you and keep up the good work..

    10. Mrs. Carol Husenitza says:

      I thought Mark Levin's statement was exactly the way true American-loving patriots believe.

      I am getting sick and tired of being referred to as racists simply because I do not go along with the ideology of Obama. My generational background is family who fought for freedom from England. We did it then and succeeded, and we will stand up time and time again in order to preserve our U.S. Constitution and all that America is about. We will never give in or give up!

    11. Mike, Connecticut says:

      How anyone can argue that this person should not have been read his Miranda rights while at the same time stating they believe in the rule of law is laughable. The suspect is an American citizen and entitled to all the rights granted by the Constitution.

      That notwithstanding I believe the line should be drawn where an individual attempts to do us harm and is not an American citizen, at that point they should be treated as the enemy they are.

      Unfortunately it doesn't matter. I fear it is too late for this country given the plague of political correctness and race to mediocrity that are a cancer infecting our once great land. To think the apathetic masses were fool enough to put such a clearly unqualified individual in the White House along with his conspirators in Congress were simply the nails in the coffin.

      Prepare for the worst as twilight is upon us.

    12. John and Dorothy Ver says:

      Outstanding ! ! ! And we are Democtats. However, we are not Socialists.

    13. John Besharian / Bry says:

      Mr. Levin posses a remarkable mind. The two books of his that I have, "Men In Black" and "Liberty and Tyranny", are well worth there weight in "Salt of the Earth" good common sense, as well as being highly informative, well researched, annotated and entertaining as well. They're indicative of someone who has put a great deal of considered thought and contemplation into not only how we got here as a nation (in al senses of that statement), but also, and rather more importantly, what it means to "be" an American, coupled with the rare ability to reach out and make it clear to both the ordinary citizen, as well as the intellectually elite (at least those with open minds) as well. That is a gift that very few posses, and Renaldus Magnus was one of the stellar examples of, I believe, not only the last century, but mayhap our entire history. Mr. Levin travels in rare company indeed. As to the nattering nabobs complaining about Miranda Rights for an American Citizen, the one currently in question is a "Naturalized American Citizen". If he lied on his application to become an American, his application, it was and is fraudulent and is thereby null and void. (As Mr. Levin for further clarification. I'm certain he'd be only too happy to oblige. After all, he is a lawyer of some note.)

    14. John Besharian / Bry says:

      The forgoing was (is?) my first effort here. Too bad I couldn't have a chance to correct a typo or three and add a missing word. (Guess that's why they never let me have the Blue Pencils, just clap the erasers.) Then again, that spilt milk is not pouring it's self back into the bottle (or carton if you're too young to remember milk bottles) now, is it.

    15. suentoots says:

      You are the Man Mr.Mark Levin! Only you can speak so succinctly about what it is that is so dear to us all here in America. We are a Patriotic and loving people who are the most selfless on the face of this Earth! For this Malcontent to constantly bash this great Country which is and has been made great DUE to Our Citizens and Ancestors who he is also bashing each time we exercise our first amendment right to assemble and disagree with big Government. HE is the problem…not us or our Country….HE will go down in History as he is, a malcontent and narcissist. Because of this we will take back our Country and remain in charge due to our Constitution which sets our souls free and allows us here to ignore and defeat Men like this creep Obama…. he will fail, we will win Mark…thanks to Patriotic Men as yourself, and Ronald Reagan.

    16. Billlie says:

      I miss you, Mark!

      That is right. Government is not "we." It is threatenng to hear the word "we" come out of the presidents mouth when "all" does not apply. Where 'some" are the target for government forced oppression and monetary punishment. Where the president sacrifices NOTHING and gives himself MORE.

      When the government is above the people they serve, "we" is a distorted term.

      The hatred, deception, disrespect, defamation is all government infiltration in the minds of those destroyed beyond the ability to think for themselves and see reality as it is.

      It is with great pride to be in the party of "know." To be challenged by the party of "know nothing" regarding the dignity/respect for honesty and truth.

    17. Objective Analyst says:

      Liberty and Tyranny is an essential read for any true patriot. We are being invaded by statist progressives with Marxist tendencies. The Liberty enjoyed by ourselves and our predecessors is in serious jeopardy. Terms like Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and Nazism are just degrees and variations of Marxism. What is in a name? That which we call Marxism by any other name would smell as bad!

    18. Pingback: The Absurd Report » The Government Is Not Us

    19. Peter Cornwell, Gran says:

      I am confident, after driving this spring from California to Maine, that there is a groundswell of sentiment in this entire country that reflects the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts. From state to state it may differ in personalities and demographic realities, but the overriding theme is that America's core principles and values are intact, and there is a huge turnout coming in the November election to change the current unpopular drift. It is not a radical statement; the vast majority of Americans are Kennedy (John) democrats or Reagan republicans, and the disrespect shown by the current administration for the core values of most Americans will have consequences for democratic congressional candidates nationwide. The message is not complicated; 1) smaller government 2) lower taxes 3) cut the deficit 4) cut th debt 5) strong national defense, military, borders, and homeland security

    20. Warren says:

      I often am concerned with who's interest are being looked to when it comes to politics and politicians. Democrat… Republican… does party really matter when one can hide under the banner of conservative or liberal. Once in office their actions reveal who they truly are and what ideology they support but by then we are stuck with them for the duration of the term. Though they stand a good chance of re-election due to the the ignorance of the populous.

      I find this disenchanting and am at a loss for words. Those who are in power to protect the people's interest are the same who are corrupted by the wealth of that power. "For love of country" is but a motto, and "We the people" is now but a myth when you have the judiciary system creating law and not interpreting it. Even on a local level the system is corrupt… If you wished to represent yourself as your constitutional right you will be punished by the judge. Upon your first objection you will be slapped with contempt of court and accused of practicing law without a license. Judges used to be lawyers so it is possible they are just protecting the interest of that job security by assuring that you must hire a lawyer, The good ol' boy system hard at work. I can see where this same mentality can carry over to larger circles, and we all know it does. Though once we ignore the checks and balances that are in place, and place laws of convenience above that of constitution the system is doomed to fail.

      What if we were given the power to vote laws in to limit the power of the constitution…. "Hey what a great idea"' some politician replies. I fear it is this exact ideology we are seeing this day and many turn a blind eye to it. I do love my country but i hate its politics. I ache for the words of "We the People" or "Made in America" have the same ring to the ear as it once did. Yet, I have no idea how innocence and purity of spirit can be reclaimed once lost.

    21. Viktoria Landgren says:

      I think Mark Levin hits the nail on the head all the time! I wish Obama would read his articles and ponder, but I am afraid Obama has tunnel vision and should read up on American History, which his family is not part of, and its Constitution.

      We need to wake up and realize that Obama is not a friend of USA and is

      intent on ruining this country and its greatness. He is two-faced and

      manipulative and dishonest, saying what sounds good and doing another behind

      our backs, scary stuff and no transparancy whatsoever.Has he ever heard of

      "piece" through strength?? He is weakening our country on the international

      front and domestically also for that matter. He was chosen by uneducated and gullible people for the most part and now we are all suffering the consequences.

    22. JULIUS ROMANOFF, NEW says:

      Unfortunately Obama promised he will introduce "Change" when elected. He never defined his vision of Change. Prior to the election I wrote that no information was provided to explain his ideas for our country. Whenever I sought to find papers he wrote as a student at Columbia University or Harvard Law School. or as President of Law Review the reply was "not available". He stated he worked his way through college, and students identified readily with him, since they were doing the same thing. However, no information was readily obtained regarding his employment, who he worked for, or how he got the job.

      Did he get a college loan? Did he belong to a Fraternity? His Pastor was known for delivering anti-American sermons which he denied hearing. Who did he associate with, and after graduating for whom did he work. The Democratic Party did not reply to my letter asking for information about his ideology. Hillary Clinton had been in the public view as First Lady so I felt we knew her views. In a democracy voters are supposed to know the individual that they will vote for so that he would represent their thinking. Now we are reaping our reward. We elected a Candidate who promised "Change", and now many of us are angry, since his Changes are not what we wanted.

      Obama is a gifted orator, and he presents his ideas well. I agree that his intentions have merit. Providing Universal Health Coverage for all citizens is a goal we all can accept. The mechanics, however, is another story. The cost of Medicare has been rising steadily. The bill was so large, I doubt that those voting for the bill ever read the bill. With the Federal deficit greater than ever before, and our economy depressed, we lack the funds to add to our costs. We can not spend money we do not have. Providing loans for people to buy homes is another great idea, but permiting them to obtain mortgages beyond their means to repay, caused our economic depression. Good business practices were ignored, since the goal was fine, but it was not practical economically.

      Obama is well intentioned and can feel compassion for our deprived citizens. However, he lacks the patience to develop a feasible plan to achieve his goal. He is egotistical, and believes he can sway people to agree to his views. For example, he stated that he will eliminate fraud in Medicare, and use the savings to pay for the increased costs of his universal health insurance. A more realistic approach is to see how much you can save by eliminating fraud, and then try to start Universal Health Insurance.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.