“Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it.” — Ayn Rand
The trajectory of this country over the past six years has been troubling to those of us who understand the power of individual freedoms. Encroachments on individual and corporate liberties, such as making us buy health insurance while exempting favored unions, go almost unnoticed by the average person. That is why the debut of the movie “Atlas Shrugged” is so important.
“Atlas Shrugged” warns of the indifference of government to individual freedoms in favor of the “hitchhikers of society.” And how vilifying the true heroes, entrepreneurs, slowly kills a society. Sound familiar? It is about the spirit that has made America great. Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of Democracy in America, called it “American exceptionalism,” and we are on the brink of losing it.
Our elitist, narcissistic, condescending president is all too happy to squelch the individual and entrepreneurial spirit of Americans, who he thinks rival him in importance. When it is about you and me, it cannot be about him. And it is only about us in his rhetoric every four years, when he is up for election.
As government takes more and more control of our lives and of the economy, the creeping incrementalism which it uses to gain power over us is often not noticed by the average citizen. It is hidden in the false promise of what an all-powerful government will do for you.
Our education system has pandered to the lowest common denominator and has resulted in falling math and science test scores when measured against rival countries. If we know too much and are allowed to think for ourselves rather than as part of the teachers’ union collective brainwashing, we might question government’s power.
Our pop culture has been so blurred with politics that Forbes’ list of most powerful women has Lady Gaga ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and reality TV star Donald Trump feels he can run for president. More people can name “The Situation” from Jersey Shore than a Supreme Court justice.
Even the Tea Party does not seem to agree on what programs to cut from the budget, nor has a clear leader emerged. They are a traditional group, so I assume the only thing they have decided for sure is that South Carolina will secede from the Union first.
For the most part, the Tea Party movement is on the right track — if it can avoid being hijacked by the religious right. Their de facto leader, Sarah Palin, starts her speeches: “Let me ask you, Florida, do you love your freedoms?” Which is like asking a Grateful Dead concert crowd, “Any of you here like smoking weed and ordering Domino’s delivery?” Yet Palin would outlaw a woman’s right to choose, take a dim view of the religious rights of non-Christians and would seek to codify her version of the Bible into law.
In a society where the liberals silence the voices of freedom, we must all fight for it. As I type my column on my Word document program, I notice that it shows “Ayn” in “Ayn Rand” as misspelled with no corrections suggested. It’s like Word does not want to acknowledge one of the most admired writers of modern times. “Exceptionalism” does not spell-check either. Interestingly enough, Word recognizes both “Kucinich” and “Dukakis.”
We libertarians have been against these wars and about the only thing Obama campaigned on that we liked was his promise to end them. He has done just the opposite. In fact he added a war by bombing Libya on the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War. With a government shutdown looming, he spends billions to bomb Libya. Gaddafi’s regime is still operating and ours about shut down.
It seems our politicians’ convoluted logic goes: America uses 28% of the world’s oil supply but only invades 10% of the Middle Eastern oil producing countries. We need to invade more.
See the movie “Atlas Shrugged.” If not, pay attention to Washington, D.C., as we seem to be living in Rand’s novel.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. E-mail Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit RonaldHart.com.