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  • We All "Belong to" the Government?

    The city of Charlotte’s convention motto this week is “We make it possible.” And who is this “we”?

    Here’s the host committee’s answer: “Government is the only thing that we all belong to. We have different churches, different clubs, but we’re together as a part of our city, or our county, or our state, and our nation.”

    What a dreary outlook. Government as our most important association. Every other association in our lives—family, church, Boy Scouts—separates us. Only government unites us.

    Intentionally or not, the line echoes President Obama’s off-the-prompter remarks during a speech in Roanoke, Virginia, in July.

    “[L]ook, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” the President said. “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    Commentators have bent over backward to cover for these comments by insisting the President couldn’t have meant what he said. They’ve said that, taken in context, his remarks amount to a statement that individual business owners didn’t build the “roads, bridges, infrastructure, education, emergency services and law and order” that make it possible to run a business. Yet no one is arguing for eliminating roads and bridges.

    But here’s what is being argued, both by Obama and again by the host committee: Government makes things happen—it’s the mother’s milk of human flourishing.

    The perfect case in point is the “Julia” campaign, which traces a fictional woman’s life and ascribes all good things in it to federal—specifically Obama Administration—initiatives. In this world, Julia’s good life wasn’t built by her, or her parents, or her community, but by the government.

    The audacity of this argument is rare. It was first advanced by Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, drawing on the work of Herbert Croly. TR’s frankness aside, progressives usually prefer to advance their ideology under the cloak of non-ideological pragmatism—liberals say they’re just doing “what works.”

    But the tagline and the video combined with President Obama’s comment—“We make it possible” because “you didn’t build that”—reveal how limitless the progressive vision of government is.

    If we’re really incapable of ruling ourselves, then we need government to bless and subsidize every decision we make and provide us with meaning in our lives. But if we are indeed self-governing citizens, then we grant government limited power to perform certain tasks clearly articulated in our founding documents, tasks that we as citizens and members of civil society cannot perform.

    Posted in Featured, First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to We All "Belong to" the Government?

    1. @judefolly says:

      "Former President Bill Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last night, made the case for cooperation far more succinctly: we're in this together if the whole country is to succeed again." http://judefolly.squarespace.com/blog/2012/9/6/at

      • Ted Crawford says:

        Oh YES we are succeeding! 360,000 fall off the back-end of unemployment, while only 96,000 find a job, the unemployment rates fall to ONLY 8.1%. Obama declares, "Look I told you I would reduce the unemployment!". Why heck if that's all it takes we could create a surplus again in Social Security and Medicare, all we have to do is kick 25% of the people off the rolls and WALA, Surplus!
        Just think, we can balance the budget, we'll just ignore it, OH wait that is exactly what Obama and Harry Reid has been doing!
        What color is the sky there in Fantasyland Judy?

    2. zzyzxbaker says:

      The democrat definition of success is ugly….at least socialism but the best would be full-blown communism. No thank you. I'll have none of either.

    3. I belong to myself and my Creator, not the bloated, ever-spending, ever-taxing, ever-inefficient government. Let the Democrat Party go pound sand.

    4. Bobbie says:

      The government belongs to all of us who pay for them, not vice versa. Government complies to the will of we the people. Not vice versa. Since they refuse to do their expected duty, gotta let em' go. Democrats are looking for job security…

      In America, life is what YOU make it, not what government makes out of YOU!

    5. Stirling says:

      To say what binds us is government is abhorent to those who actually pay taxes, due to the waste and corruption it embodies. For the DNC to push "Socialism" as a platform is equally abhorent to those who see government as a threat to personal freedoms. Liberty can not exist when Socialism is present because of the opression and tyranny that it requires. Tthus to the DNC I say "Give me liberty or give me death."

    6. unitedstakes101 says:

      We didn't build the government either. Right? We just belong to it. Correct? No matter that these sound bites are re-explained over and over about how the media has taken them OUT OF context, they are obvious Freudian slips, revealed INTO the context of a more socialist agenda. Rather than trying to "retink" the current imperfect but unique capitalist system (where hard-working business-owner consumer investors employ hard-working wage-earning consumer investors), the sheepish way is to reinvent the wheel. Ahhhh, Castro's Cuba! Let me in!!!

    7. Sandra says:

      The people belong to the government?!?!?! Pardon???

      I thought the government belonged to the people; you know – of the people, by the people, for the people.

      And I am not even an American – thank GOD!!

    8. OipeO says:

      I find the use of the marketing line "Forward" to be rich. Their vision is back not forward since it's based on the works of utopian thinkers like Marx and Engels. The samples of their vision can be found in the broken countries of Europe, the Soviet Union, North Korea, the old eastern Europe, and China (though China is slowly coming around to us). They are people playing with fire and don't realize that fire can seriously burn them. How can the slow drip, drip, drip of more government be stopped?

    9. O_Henry says:

      When people reject the Creator who made them they eventually do make another “god” to worship although in their own image. How easy it is to substitute government for the Almighty in such a setting. Do not be surprised when the light of the Gospel recedes that the darkness encroaches.

    10. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Actually, government belongs to us. We don't belong to government. As Clint Eastwood said a week ago today:
      "This government belongs to us. Not politicians. Politicians are our employees." Isn't that what Ronald Reagan said back in 1980?

    11. Rex says:

      Have a file of patents and created a dozen businesses. I'm 85 and still run two of them. Had lots of help. My main help was my wife who also found time to help raise six great children, now adults who have advanced degrees in education, engineering and medicine. We nor the government gave it to them they worked and learned more from that than schools. The situation mow is a mine field of impediments that dicourage progress, profit, investment and initive are bad words.

    12. red Dirt Bill says:

      I think they have it wrong. We the people own the goverenment.. We can change it.

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