Worldview: When you look at your country, who do you see?

To me, last night’s State of the Union Address represented the same kind of drivel that I’ve come to expect from all of our politicians for years. Obama went right to the boasting and political pandering that has defined national politics since I first started paying attention to it decades ago.

The centerpiece of Obama’s pandering is the idea that Americans need the government to take care of them. To the people in Washington, it’s no longer a government of, by, and for the people but a government above, around, and in front of the people.

That thought leads me to the thing that has been bothering me about this election cycle since it began way back after Obama was elected in 2008: why do we spend so much time worrying about presidents and Congresses and national politics at all? Shouldn’t those things pale in comparison to what each of us are doing as individuals wherever we are?

Last night, Obama said, ”I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” The problem is that what he believes the people cannot do better themselves and what I think have nothing to do with each other at all.

If Obama believed those words the way I do, he would do exactly two things: first, he would demand that Congress include the Constitutional justification for every law it passes. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go into law. Second, he would demand that Congress begin systematically dismantling the federal government until it returns to the size and scope of powers enumerated in the Constitution and its amendments.

But, Obama doesn’t believe in that at all. No, instead he believes in a government of the government, by the government, and for the government. In his view, the people need to be taken care of. They need to be ruled.

And the reason he can get away with that idea is because of you. It’s because you’re so worried about electing a president who can fix your problems instead of you fixing them yourself. It’s because you’re so worried about what’s going on in Washington that you’re not worried about what’s going on down the street. It’s because you’ve decided that the idea of being taken care of sounds kind of nice, and if you’re honest with yourself, that’s what you’re paying attention to and voting for.

So, look around you. Who do you see? Do you see a nation full of exceptional individuals who should all be given the maximum opportunity to succeed by the merits of their own work? Do you see opportunities to help others and, by doing so, help yourself? Do you see a future that lies in your hands and a destiny you determine?

Or do you see a bunch of things you want someone else to do because you don’t feel like doing it?

The sad part is that, as our government systematically dismantles our liberty in order to make us all safe and comfortable, it guarantees our demise. The history of great nations tells us that is true. And, the ones who will survive and flourish in whatever comes after that demise are the ones who take matters into their own hands.

Now, look in the mirror. Who do you see? Do you see a person ready for whatever comes next?

If not, do something about it.

DLH

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Worldview: Underhanded

In American politics, at least, underhanded tactics are a time tested way to bully one’s political adversaries into doing what one wants them to do. Barack Obama seems particularly versed in underhandedness, as he once again demonstrated yesterday.

The problem, as is usually true with underhanded political tactics, is that it does nothing to solve the problem and will likely make the problem worse. Obama has used fear to motivate millions of Americans to badger their representatives into doing something that could very easily prove destructing for the country, and he did so to achieve political goals that could very easily prove destructive to the country.

Let’s face reality: Social Security is part of the reason our federal government is so far in debt to begin with, and without substantial reform–yes, even cuts–to the program, our federal government cannot remain solvent. The specter of checks not going out in August is just the tip of a very deep iceberg for a government that borrows almost half of every dollar it spends.

If the president wants to be a real leader, he should present a plan that might actually save the government from default, both now and in the future. Instead, he makes the same old tired arguments he always has: tax the rich, spend like a drunk sailor on shore leave.

In the meantime, he fiddles while Washington burns, and now his song has been tuned to make people dance in fear.

DLH

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Worldview: 2010: The news that wasn’t

To me, 2010 was defined as much by what did not happen as by what did. It was an anxious year, one that could have been far worse or far better.

Last January 1, I endeavored to make several predictions about the coming year, an impossible task, yet an interesting intellectual exercise nonetheless. Let’s see how I did:

  • The Pakistani conflict with al Qaeda and the Taliban will come to a head: While the Pakistani government did not fall in 2010, the intensity of the country’s internal struggles increased to the point that the distinction between insurgency and civil war is almost irrelevant. The list of major terrorist events inside Pakistan is immense, and reminds me a lot of how Iraq looked in 2005 before the surge. Frankly, it is amazing that the national government managed to survive, and I suspect it owes a lot of its survival to the fact that it ceded control of broad swaths of the country to militants.
  • Iran will demonstrate its capacity to build and deliver a nuclear weapon: I was very surprised that this did not happen, but I think we can congratulate on thing for the fact that it did not: Stuxnet. The Stuxnet worm was a stroke of genius on some nation’s part that was more effective in hampering Iran’s nuclear progress than a thousand bombers could have been. Still, Iran is moving forward with its projects, including the potential of basing missiles in Venezuela capable of reaching the United States.
  • The war in Afghanistan will be revealed to be even more difficult than first officially acknowledged: I think I nailed this one, mostly because the Obama administration has demonstrated no resolve for winning this conflict directly. Coupled with the deep problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan looked increasingly dire in 2010, although there are signs victory is still within reach, especially now that General David Petraeus is in charge of the show.
  • A major terrorist attack against a Western nation will succeed: They did not fail for lack of trying. 2010 was full of attempts to attack the west that failed or were thwarted. The only thing that amazes me more than their lack of success was their apparent ineptitude.
  • Third party candidates will make significant inroads in the November general election: The Tea Party thwarted my hopes for the 2010 midterms as much as it did the Democrats. Perhaps it is not fair to just blame the Tea Party: American voters are creatures of habit, hence our 200-year-long two party system. That said, the next two years should be an entertaining political train wreck.

In a way, I guess some could say that the world turned out far better than I expected it to on 2010.

DLH

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