Saturday, September 29, 2012

Has America Crossed Over?

In my recent article The Truth About Romney's 47%, I acknowledged that in his remarks, however indelicately made, Romney touched on an issue that is at the very heart of this election and a critical pivot point that will define the future of America for generations to come.

Here's the question: With 49% of our citizens paying no federal income tax, and a similar number dependent on direct cash payments from the Treasury for their very sustenance, are there simply too many Americans so dependent on the largesse of their fellow citizens (aka the government), to ever hope for a return to the smaller, more sensible, more efficient confederacy of states envisioned by the Founders and preferred by Mr. Romney and Republicans? Or "has America crossed over?"

I'm beginning to fear that it has! While I don't believe that everyone in the 47% is either a Democrat, a willing dependent, a victim, or entitled, (and neither does Romney if you listen to his words) most of them, and indeed, many, many of those in the 53% are actual victims of Washinton's overreach and federal excess.

While some of us are overtaxed, many are also overly benefited by the taxes (or debt) carried by our neighbors. Too many companies are favored by government contracts. Too many organizations and individuals benefit from lobbied exemptions. Too many profit from legislative favor. Too many of us are looking for that next government handout or simply take too much for too long when our turn comes. This creates attitudes of dependence, weakness, and entitlement that are eventually actuallized in the populace as a whole. We expect more from government, therefore we do less for ourselves and each other.

Both major political parties engage in the "candyman" syndrome of redistribution; giving away all they can to favored constituents while taking all they can from others. But in so doing, the GOP establishment is at odds  with its fundamental ideals and many of its grassroots constituents. The Democrats, however, do so with philosophical "integrity" and reckless abandon, in the name of fairness, proudly claiming the prize as the party of all good gifts. And because they control the media, too, the donkeys even win the PR battle convincing many that their ideals are more generous, more responsible, more moral and more fair when nothing could be further from the truth.

Additionally, while, from the Constitutional perspective, liberals represent the most extreme and radical departure from the uniquely American ideals and the principles that built our singular success as a nation, conservatives who seek only to restore and maintain those values, are painted as the extremists--ready to abandon the poor and disadvantaged while forcing a theocratic chastity belt on the loins of the body politic--also a liberal lie.

Unfortunately, the philosophy has become institutionalized. Redistribution is the present reality and has been for quite some time. But the perception that it's a good idea in the minds of either a large minority or even a majority of Americans is relatively new. And it's why I think we may have "crossed over."

The ideals of individual liberty, responsibility, achievement, and charity, have been the bedrock of American success and prosperity from our founding. Though diminished by encroaching socialism, these ideals remained a hedge against it. But the dam has been breeched and the floodwaters are pouring in dousing the flames of freedom and self-determination. Americans now almost universally acknowledge a federal power and responsibility, not simply to secure them in thier individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but to insure the material outcomes that define our perception thereof--a satisfactory job, a college degree, medical care, a three-bedroom home with a late-model car for each driver, a big screen TV, internet connection, cell phone,  burgers on the barby and a beer in the fridge--whether we've pursued them successfully or not. All this despite the truth that no Constitutional authority exists for a government with such materialistic powers.

If Americans continue to see the fruits of liberty in their own lives to be the result of their persoal responsibility, effort, and achievement, America will survive and thrive. But if, as signs portend, the nation has shifted to a collective mentality where each believes s/he deserves a "share" in the wealth created by all, as subtly, but unmistakeably articulated by Mr. Obama, the Democrat party, and their willing accomplices in the popular media, then America as we have known her, has indeed "crossed over" with all that those words imply.

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