Now that the period of remembering the liberties our nation upholds on Independence Day is over with, we have to go back to the realities of the less-than-free state that we find ourselves in. Back to government’s ever encroaching hand slowly taking away our freedoms and liberties and making us more “dependent” instead of “independent.” Back to dealing with the elites who believe they can run our lives better than we can.
A great example is a comment made by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D- NY) at a fund-raising event last week, which sounded a lot like her “it takes a village” theory.
At the event, Clinton was quoted as revealing to the attendees, “We’re not coming to you, many of whom are well enough off that actually the tax cuts may have helped you, and say ‘we’re going to give you more.’ We’re saying, ‘you know what, for America to get back on track and be fiscally responsible, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
Take things away? On behalf of the common good? That sounds familiar. Was it one of our founding fathers that promoted such an idea? Perhaps Washington? Jefferson?
No. You would probably never have heard such talk from one of them. It sounds more like something from Marx.
“The common good” seems in a lot of cases to be code for meaning individual rights are going to be violated. It seems like any time politicians want to violate the private property rights of individuals, they base it on some plea to uphold or defend the common good. Marx was brilliant at getting that idea to work so were guys such as Lenin and Stalin. Hitler even used it.
In a 1944 edition of Reader’s Digest, philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, “Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ‘the common good.’ Throughout history, no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing ‘the common good.’ … Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by ‘altruists’ who justify themselves by-the common good.”
Now, surely Sen. Clinton’s plea to defend the common good is not as wrong-headed or dangerous as those made by past tyrants.
However, in the same article, Rand also writes, “The right of liberty means man’s right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.”
Politicians such as Sen. Clinton seem to believe that the private property of individual citizens — in this case their money — can be taken from them on the basis that it will contribute to the common good. Such dangerous logic denies individuals the inherent right to private property that was one of the key principles upon which our country was founded.
Politicians such as Sen. Clinton believe that the government, being the defender of the common good, is better able to decide for people how they should spend their money. That’s why they support policies that involve forcibly taking money from those to whom Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) called “the winners of life’s lottery.”
Others, such as President George W. Bush, aren’t arrogant enough to believe that they can better decide for us how we should spend our money. They prefer giving unnecessary tax money back to the citizens who paid it in order to let them decide how they want to spend it.
This is where the critics chime in and say something like, “He only gave money back to the wealthiest of Americans.” The truth is that everyone who paid income taxes received money back. The wealthiest pay the most and, as a result, will get the most back in a proportional tax refund.
The collectivists like Sen. Clinton prefer to take the money from those who make more and forcibly give it to those who don’t in the name of the common good. They are the type of “altruists” who Rand described as doing things, “which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake … who justify themselves by — the common good.”
Adam Fowler is a senior majoring in political science. firstname.lastname@example.org