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But this is typical Obama. He is Hegelian in the extreme. He constantly suggests reconciliation between concepts that are irreconcilable, then suggests reconciliation in his person. Here, he presents a thesis – that Americans are capitalists. Then he presents an false antithesis – that Americans are communitarians. And finally, he presents a synthesis – that, believe it or not, Americans are both capitalists and communitarians! It is no surprise that a man who voted present so often in the Senate votes present on every difficult choice by ardently maintaining that no choice exists.
It’s a pattern that has marked his early presidency with astonishing regularity. Obama consistently rails about “false choices” between two obviously incompatible ideas, which he, as the Great Uniter, then bridges. So, for example, he told the Chicago Tribune back in 2009 that Americans didn’t need to face the “false choice” between “chaotic and unforgiving capitalism” and an “oppressive government-run economy.” Of course this choice as phrased was false, since capitalism is neither chaotic nor unforgiving. But there was, and is, a quite real choice between capitalism and a government-run economy. Obama said the same thing about stem-cell research – it was a “false choice” between “sound science” and “moral values,” as though no serious person could suggest that science ever conflicted with values. He used that same pernicious phrase with regard to national defense, where he told us that we need not make a “false choice” between “our safety” and “our ideals.” In that case, even Obama was caught on the horns of that “false choice” – he was speaking about closing Guantanamo Bay, which is still open.
It ws not merely Obama’s attempt to paint Americans as good little Keynesians that rang false during his deficit speech. It was Obama’s attempt to paint pre-FDR America as hell on earth. Obama informed Americans that because we are humane people, “we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security … unemployment insurance … and Medicaid … We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further – we would not be a great country without those commitments.”
Nonsense on stilts. Were we a materially worse country before the FDR agenda came to pass? Certainly we weren’t bankrupt. Grown children were expected to take care of their elderly parents, religious institutions were expected to take care of the unemployed, and adults were expected to take care of their own retirement and health care. Why is that individualistic, personal-responsibility politics less morally praiseworthy than the position that random strangers are obligated to take care of your parents, that employers are expected to pay the unemployed for not working, that adults’ cash must be seized and redistributed to retirees and that nobody should make provision for their own health care, and instead rely on other people’s tax dollars?
Obama refuses to make the touch choices – he chose to punt on whether America ought to incur “a future of spiraling debt” and a future “where we forfeit investments in our people and our country” – so that he could dishonestly stump for higher taxes in the interests of redistribution. Then he has the gall to call us immoral for asking our government to stop wasting our money and return it to those who can create jobs and wealth.
In sum, Obama’s deficit speech was an exercise in ideological Marxism masquerading as moderation. Then again, his entire career has been just that.
Ben Shapiro is an attorney and writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center.
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