Somebody owns your life
By Richard E. Ralston
At a July 13 campaign rally in Roanoke, Virginia, President Barack Obama revealed the ideology behind his passion for forcing more government, including Obamacare, on the nation.
"Somebody along the line gave you some help." "There was a great teacher somewhere in your life." "Somebody invested in roads and bridges." "If you've got a business . . . somebody else made that happen."
Certainly, we all benefit from productive people. If we were fortunate enough to have a parent, mentor or teacher who helped us in life, we should be grateful. Our achievements honor them.
But the president tells us we incur an undefined, unlimited and eternal obligation to everyone that exists, ever existed or ever will exist.
And he should have the power to dictate how and to whom that obligation must be distributed, regardless of whether the recipients ever helped anyone or even themselves.
That is what fascists call the "leadership principle," and Americans should scorn it.
If you went to school, the government owns your achievements. If you drive to work on a road, the government owns your career or business. If you rely on government medical care, the government owns you.
That is the price of entitlements. Anything you achieve, you owe to whomever or whatever President Obama decrees.
But what if many of your teachers were time-serving drudges with no competence in the subjects they were teaching? Do you owe your success to them?
What about "somebody" like Tom Pendergast, who, many years ago, used his control of the political machine in Kansas City to funnel road projects to his concrete company? Hallmark Cards, for instance, could not have been an achievement of J.C. Hall--he owed it all to the Pendergast machine or any "somebody" the President designates.
In reality, Hall's accomplishments were not due to, but in spite of, the political spoils system. President Obama makes no distinction between producers, who have a drive to succeed and build a life of real achievement, and those who only drive away from achievement. In the president's view, such a distinction would not be "fair." Those individuals who produce and achieve (which is what really pays for the roads) owe their success to everyone but themselves; those who achieve nothing have an unquestionable entitlement to everything.
The president's most disgraceful statement was that "somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive." "Somebody" is a way to avoid acknowledging any individual. Obama must avoid mentioning the courage and accomplishments of Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington, Madison or any specific individual. After all, "somebody" pitched the hay that fed their horses.
The president ignores the individuals who built America and the principles upon which they built it: their purpose was not to establish a system that permits you to succeed, but one with no power to stop you.
In health care, each of us must be free to choose our physicians based on their individual achievements and skills, upon which our lives depend. They must never be micro-managed by politicians because "somebody" built hospitals.
The astounding achievements of drug companies must not be regulated away, nor medical equipment manufacturers taxed out of existence because "somebody" built a new freeway overpass.
The leading edge of growing government today is health care. That must become the leading edge of shrinking government. If we want to keep our freedom in medicine and elsewhere, we must protect the rights and achievements of individuals, not sacrifice them to "somebody."
Richard E. Ralston is the executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2012 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.