Barack Obama

Obama's Inaugural Address, Individual Rights, and the Royal "We" That Screws Us All

|

Before we forget about President Barack Obama's second inaugural address yesterday, it's worth pausing for a few minutes on what strikes me as a profound confusion in it.

I was happy to hear Obama say this:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 

Invoking the gay rights movement (Stonewall) is a good thing and it marks a step forward for presidential discourse. Long an outspoken defender of marriage as something between one man and one woman, Obama last year averred he had grown in office and now embraced gay marriage or, more precisely, civil unions of same-sex adults.

It's not clear if he'll push for, say, federal tax recognition of gay couples that is equal to that of straight ones. But still, his embrace of something like equality under the law for gays and lesbians, along with his ending of Bill Clinton's odious "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, is a serious step forward for the government in treating individuals equally under the law.

Indeed, what links Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall is the removal of governmentally sanctioned inequality, not the creation of a new entitlement or protected status. Women, blacks, and gays were/are treated differently by the law, even or especially when private entities with whom they voluntarily contract wanted to treat them the same.

Back in September 1996, when Bill Clinton proudly signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law, businesses were already accomodating gay partners in the workplace. In fact, that's one of the reasons why DOMA, which meant that the federal government and states wouldn't have to accept gay marriages legalized by gay-friendly states, was passed. IBM, Apple, Disney, Levi-Strauss, and an increasing number of companies were more than happy to treat their gay employees the same as they treated their straight ones. Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruling that created the unbelievably grotesque "separate but equal" doctrine that underpinned Jim Crow, arose when the state refused to let a railroad sell first-class tickets to blacks. There's no question that some private entitites have a long and ugly history of refusing to do business with blacks, women, gays, and other out-groups. But it's always been local, state, and federal governments that caused far more problems by refusing the sorts of mixing and work-arounds that reliably happen when markets operate.

So more power to Obama for embracing individual rights on any level.

Yet as Matt Welch pointed out earlier today, most of Obama's speech was spoken in the royal "we" and involved talking about all the new things that were going to involve us all, whether we want to pitch in or not. In particular, I was struck by this passage about entitlements for the elderly and the poor:

We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other—through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security—these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

This is a load of high-minded-sounding junk, conflating all sorts of issues and appeals. Seriously, do you know anybody remotely in a position to influence policy who thinks that the government should never help anyone under any circumstances? Medicaid is the country's health-care system for the poor and is, by all accounts, an atrocious program that even sometimes harms the very population at whom it's directed. On a wide variety of outcomes, it is worse than the alternative. And in every state in the union, it is either the single-biggest or second-biggest annual expenditure and a primary cause for state fiscal problems. You can't wrap this rotting fish in soaring rhetoric and get rid of the stink. I happen to believe in a state-assisted safety net—which is precisely why Medicaid is so outrageous. It's a huge waste of money that chronically under-delivers. To pretend otherwise is wilful blindness.

Medicare, the nation's health-payment system for people 65 years and older, and Social Security, the country's income-assistance program for the retired, massively redistribute wealth and resources from the relatively poor and young to the relatively rich and old. It is the exact opposite of the intergenerational pact that has ruled for most of human civilization. You know, the one where older, wealthier, and wiser people give money, resources, and insight to younger ones.

Since 2010, you will get less out of Social Security than you put inThat sort of uni-directional payout doesn't "free us to take the risks that make this country great." It screws over all of us who are footing the bill for retirees whose wealth increased hugely over the past couple of decades.

As for Medicare, that's a program in which payroll taxes, premiums, and copayments cover maybe 50 cents out of each dollar. Which explains both why recipients love it (it's the ultimate inexhaustible Living Social coupon—50 percent off every doctor's visit until you die!) and why it, more than any other government program, will bankrupt the country minus massive change (read: destruction and replacement with a smaller, targeted program that helps the truly poor and disadvantaged, regardless of age). Read more about how old-age entitlements are not about helping the needy but feathering the quite-comfortable nests of politically connected seniors.

When you strip away the high-minded rhetoric of what some are already calling one of "the best" inaugural speeches of the past half-century (a low bar, given that no one can probably name a single competitor), what are you left with? Obama taking credit for advances in individual rights with which he had next to no involvement and his defending programs that fail to achieve anything more than the dispossession of the young and powerless. That's not a progressive message, as many are saying, and it's certainly not a powerful one.

NEXT: BREAKING: In Fight Over Marijuana's Scheduling, Appeals Court Rules in Favor of DEA and Schedule I

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Stonewall riots: Named after that great pioneer of gay rights, “Stonewall” Jackson.

    1. lulz. Mike Church was talking about this on his show this AM. His sidekick thought the same thing I think most people in the US do upon hearing “Stonewall”….”Jackson”.

      I’d never heard of “Stonewall-NOT-Jackson” till today.

      Also, whatever…

      1. I know that Jackson is more famous, but I’m kind of shocked that so many people haven’t heard of the Stonewall riots.

        To me, it’s like never having heard of Rodney King.

        Meh, maybe it’s generational. And geographic. I guess as a 40something guy born in New York who spent 30 years living in northeastern cities, I’m pretty much in a demographic that would hear about that shit.

        1. I’m 51 in a week – never heard of it. A gap in my otherwise generally decent knowledge of US history-ish things.

          NTTAWWT

        2. People with political connections should have heard of it as well. It’s the reason we have Log Cabin Republicans and Stonewall Democrats.

          1. Not everyone cares.

            1. I’ve heard about lots of things I don’t care about. Usually, one hears of a thing, then decides whether or not to care about it.

        3. geographic. I hadn’t heard of it till the last few years, either. I saw the Rodney King tape the morning of the event.

          1. I grew up in the South and I knew all about Stonewall after the 10th anniversary commemoration.

      2. Well, I’m sure the story of how he got the nickname “Stonewall” from his troops is just the PG-version they teach in 5th grade history textbooks.

        1. “Let us cross the river and rest in the shade on the other side.”

  2. I prefer the old we:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    and

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    1. Except there is no “we”. It’s a collectivist fiction, even when said by the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and especially so when said by the Megalomaniac-in-chief.

      1. Now you sound like Martin Blank…”there is no ‘we'”

      2. Whatever. It’s still a better we than Obama’s “we”, which reduces us to cells in the Body. Are you of the Body, Episiarch?

        1. Lawgivers aren’t out until the next Executive Order.

          1. I got a hollow tube in the mail along with a robe last week. No idea why–came from the bar association.

            1. No one wants to hear about your weird sexual fetishes, ProL.

            2. Sounds like it’s time for FESTIVAL!

              1. Episiarch is exempt. He just hangs out with old guys for the whole thing.

      3. I’ve always thought of the “we” in the Declaration of Independence as pertaining to the men who signed their names to the document. As in, “we’re all notable members of our community and here’s some stuff that we all agree on”. Signed, sealed, and delivered.

        Obama’s rhetoric, of course, does not live up to that standard.

    2. “[These words] must apply to everyone or they mean nothing! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!”

      /Kirk

      1. We could really use a time travel accident involving Kirk and a visit to the Yang stronghold in DC.

        1. “Set phasers on stun kill.”

          1. “Set phasers to repeal.”

            1. They’re overheating! Too. Much. Legislation. … Got. To. Try…

    3. The first “we” is fine. The second one is bullshit.

  3. Seriously, do you know anybody remotely in a position to influence policy who thinks that the government should never help anyone under any circumstances?

    A former Congressman and Hero of the Texas Revolution comes to mind:

    Davy…Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier!

    1. Wow. You won’t ever see a Congressman campaign like that ever again.

    2. I’ve never gotten what makes the Alamo defenders so heroic. They got killed disobeying orders to defending a strategically worthless point, allowing the Mexicans to capture all their supplies intact, and triggering the Runaway Scrape all in the name of a pointless show of pride when they’d have been better off completing their mission and retreating to a better location to engage the Mexican army.

    3. “Seriously, do you know anybody remotely in a position to influence policy who thinks that the government should never help anyone under any circumstances?”

      Um…libertarians for one? And I don’t say that facetiously, we’re the ones who are supposed to see through the notion that government actually helps people more than it hurts with it’s interventions.

  4. You know what I really hate about Obama’s rhetoric? Every bit of spending is now an “investment”. Yet they continue to invest in things that they know will bring no return. How do people fall for this shit?

    1. Please compare and contrast “investment” and “gift.”

      1. I read this as “investment” and “grift“.

        1. Gift, graft, what’s the difference?

          1. Gift is the German word for “poison”.

    2. “We’ve invested and invested in drones, but the recipients don’t show any gratitude for our gift to them…selfish bastards.”

    3. Liberals judge policies by their intention, not their result.

      1. Liberals have a female brain. I used to coach gymnastics. Ask a male gymnast how’s it going and he’ll say, I just learned to do a press handstand. Ask a female gymnast how’s it going and she’ll tell you she’s working on a press handstand. Men accomplish; women aspire.

        1. Look out everyone, somebody’s swiping a pretty broad brush today. Wouldn’t want to get painted with ignorance.

        2. And assholes are misogynist. Do you like being an asshole?

          1. I like your mom’s asshole.

            1. Join the club.

              1. He’s lying anyway.

                1. Lying with your mom!

          2. You have been brainwashed by the collectivist purveyors of the feminine imperative. Don’t believe me? Turn on any tv channel and pay attention to the actual narrative behind everything they say.

            Men are supposed to cower in fear and guilt from the feminine imperative–but your sanction (and ignorance of it) is it’s only strength. And before you come at me with the usual argument–i.e., I must be unsuccessful with women–I am 30 years old and I just spent the last ten years drowning in pussy.

            I hope you guys desire to discover the world you have missed out on. It’s all right there, waiting for you to take it. I hope you are ready to unplug from the fiat feminism matrix. For your red pill, I refer you to Rollo Tomassi’s Rational Male blog, and prepare to have your mind blown.

            1. Cool story, bro.

              1. Wow you sure showed him

          3. It takes a cosmo to conflate understanding biological differences and “hate.” Or do you even know the definition of the silence word your using?

            1. Or do you even know the definition of the silence word your using?

              I can’t even make sense of the question.

              Also, I’m confused. Are Obama Unchained, Libertarius and Liberty the same? And no one said “hate”.

      2. Not necessarily. The intention behind cutting taxes and reducing government is to create wealthier, happier, freer people too. Liberals have their eye on the prize: dependency, rule by elites, central planning. They are very, very results oriented.

        1. We really, really should take a page from the left’s book of semantic manipulation and stop. calling. them. liberals.

          Collectivism and statism are not “liberal” in any meaning or definition of the word.

    4. If these are “investments”, then as investment managers, given the abysmal performance of their portfolio, Mr. Obama and his team should be sued or jailed for breach of fiduciary duty.

      1. I’d love to see Peter Schiff file that lawsuit.

  5. or a home swept away in a terrible storm

    I would hazard a SWAG that 90% of the homes “swept away in a terrible storm” since 1978 were built in places where no homes should be.

    Most of both ocean coasts, and pretty much the entire Gulf coast, is now built up property line to property line with truly hideous properties that would not be there if it weren’t for the sentiment Obama expresses here, and the federal programs that make us all pay for that sentiment.

    Liberals hate sprawl, and then do everything they can to create it.

    1. Yep. That pretty much says it. And a good portion of those homes swept away were probably also owned by rich people as second or third homes.

  6. The more I learn about liberal programs, the more I think that there are no actual good intentions at the policy-making level. The cronyism and lies about the actual effects of social security are a perfect example.

    1. THE HELL YOU SAY!!!

    2. They’ll do anything to buy votes. Anything. And justify what they do to the hilt.

      There was a time where they had to at least give some lip service to limited government, but years of courts rubber-stamping government expansions of power and increasingly blatant abuses of power being ignored by voters have taken their toll.

    3. Yep.

      It’s really just the Mafia gone legit. They extract money from the unfavored by force, so that they can spread favors around to certain favorites in return for their support. Charity has nothing to do with it.

    4. I’ve always thought that most progressives are nice people with good if severely misguided intentions and a failure to grasp the often counterintuitive nature of economics and thus they are easily misled by those in power, who are in on the corporatist/regulatory state game, exploit the poor, the economically naive and minorities for political control and have little regard for civil liberties, peace or the environment.

      1. They also possess massively powerful reality distortion fields that only allow them to see the “good” things that their TEAM leader does and consistently filters or rationalizes everything else.

        1. Everybody does that to some degree. The problem is that most progressives naively believe that the leaders they vote for are also nice people with their hearts in the right place even if they make mistakes, at least compared to those heartless Republicans who are mean to gays, minorities and the poor.

          For most voters, intentions matter far more than results, just like when how conservative voters naively believe that the leaders they vote for will be fiscally responsible and will cut government because they talk a big game and know it’s the right thing to do, even though they perpetually fail to do so.

          1. Everybody does that to some degree.

            Of course. I know Obamanauts who are truly decent people otherwise. My guts tells me that they haven’t devoted a moment’s thought to all of the atrocities that he’s committed. As you note, intentions are all that matter, and they’re happily laying the paving stones.

            It’s out of sheer intellectual laziness and the comfort of the echo chamber, no doubt. The younger ones I can excuse just out of youth, but the older ones have no excuse. It’s not like the information on the Obama wars and war crimes are hidden in the super-secret gubmint library.

            1. I get more cynical about the older progressives. There are a lot of leftover hippies who are still holding on to civil libertarian/anti-war principles, and I also get that 98% of the public is stuck in an idiotic two-party dichotomy so have to pick the lesser of two evils. But if you haven’t wisened up to economics and been moved by seeing cycles of government failure with your own eyes and watching your paycheck get stolen and squandered, you’re probably more of a statist than a progressive. I don’t consider the two concepts to be inherently synonymous, in fact, they are usually contradictory and progressivism is usually self-defeating in practice.

              Which only deepens why I am cynical about the political Left, by creating more inequality they can exploit by claiming to have the best intentions, while criticizing the conglomeration, price inflation and outsourcing they caused as a symptom of the other side’s greed.

            2. It’s not like the information on the Obama wars and war crimes are hidden in the super-secret gubmint library.

              The MSM filters and interprets Obama’s actions for the masses. And many look no further on their own – they are incurious, or they just like the interpretation they hear because it makes them feel good. It’s hard to discover that someone you admire and have supported has massively fucked up and has evil intent. People prefer to justify their support by staying blind to the flaws. Bush was supported wholeheartedly by many who claim to be small govt types even after his Medicare Part D became our largest unfunded mandate and the wars ground on.

      2. Since actions speak louder than words, reality belies your assertion. At a certain point, if you continue to support demonstrably destructive policies, you are no longer a nice person with good, if misguided, intentions. You are actively vicious.

        These people have a responsibility for their actions. Now, their entire worldview is the denial of that fact, but that doesn’t change things.

        1. gotta go with Epi here. There should come a point in a rational mind where you look beyond stated intentions to actual results. When the plans and policies are making things worse, either the plans and policies are at fault or the people behind them are bad people. Either way, a change is necessary.

          1. Except, there is always a scapegoat: Obama’s economic policies would have done so much better if it weren’t for those rascally Republicans forcing him to give tax cuts to rich people, etc. etc.

            And, don’t forget, there were members of the commentariat who argued that it was libertarians who were thwarting Obama at one point.

            1. That’s one of the things that really ticks me off about the Obama administration: An absolute unwillingness to take responsibility for the consequences of his policies. Worse than that, he always tries to push responsibility on others.

              As much as I hate Bush, he didn’t blame Iraq on others.

              1. But, politically, it works. And so, it will continue to be used.

        2. I think the problem is that most progressives are not rational. They are emotional. The same goes in many ways for social conservatives as well. When you let emotions replace rational thinking, you are easily manipulated.

          The problem is that a statist progressives who is a rational thinker and still advocates those economic policies is actually a regressive. No one can rationally justify the impact of the regulatory state without seeing the intrinsic moral hazards and corporatism, the wealth conglomeration, destruction of smaller competition and political cronyism that always result. No one can rationally justify the impact of the welfare state after the failure of public housing, the cycles of poverty, the failure of the public school system, etc.

          Thus I have to believe such politicians and economists are actually brilliantly Machiavellian regressives who have profited economically and politically from successfully convinced the emotional progressives that statism can fix all the things that wound them, even though it actually worsens them, which they can easily still blame on conservatives, libertarians and the wealthy.

          1. I think the problem is that most progressives are not rational. They are emotional.

            They’re not emotional, they’re weak. That’s why the project pain and suffering where none exists.

          2. I agree 100% with your final paragraph. However, I still do not accept irrationality as an excuse for supporting immoral policies. People must take responsibility for their actions whether they are rationally based or not. Therefore, statists who claim to want liberty or better outcomes are morally bankrupt and cannot claim “intentions” as a shield against such a charge.

      3. I’ve always thought that most progressives are nice people with good if severely misguided intentions

        Then you’re a dupe who’s never actually known one. These people are nothing but spineless, calculating control-freaks. You’re gonna tell me you think T o n y comes here because he has good intentions? Fuck no, it’s straight ego. Don’t be dense, it’s embarrassing.

        1. Yes. The really, really power hungry tend to gravitate towards “progressive” politics, and have for a century. They’ve created plenty of misery here for sure, but in many countries the price people have paid by supporting these power hungry monsters is their lives.

        2. Uh, I went to arguably the most left-wing college in the country. Most all of my friends are far-left wingers, many too far on the civil libertarian/anti-war Left to support Obama. Some are left-wing anarchists. I was in school during the Bush years, so my perspective might be skewed by the anti-government zeitgeist at the time, but I didn’t meet too many people with sinister, dictatorial, nannyish or virulently anti-libertarian motives, although there were quite a few such professors. We had one polisci professor who actively encouraged his students NOT to take economics classes.

          Once you realize that most lefties are emotional creatures that have been badly manipulated by statist politicians, media and academia and explain free market and libertarian political principles in their language, I have found them to be mostly open to the concepts if skeptical about the execution.

          1. To point, the major organized protests I recall while at school:
            – the School of the Americas (where the government trains brutal Latin American paramilitaries)
            – the Iraq war
            – DADT / on-campus military recruitment
            – laws/social conditioning against female toplessness

            …all of which fall perfectly in conjunction with libertarian principles. The Patriot Act, executive signing orders and Guantanamo were universally loathed.

            I’m sure, due to “TEAM”, it would be a different and more hostile place to be right now, but I would savor the opportunity to call them out for hypocrisy.

          2. I’ve got a whole extended family of socialists. They’re not emotional, or at least, they’re not just emotional, they’re self-deceived. Your friends are anarcho-socialists / anarcho-communists / anarcho-whatevers because they haven’t confronted the contradictions in those hyphenations yet. But one day they will, and without fail, I assure you they’re going to drop the “anarcho” part.

            1. I find the anarcho-leftists and Greens are the easiest to convert to libertarianism for obvious reasons. First of all, they have proven that they are willing to think outside the typical political dichotomies. They may be indoctrinated with erroneous ideas about markets and property, but that’s easier to change when they have already figured out that the government causes inequality, corporatism, war, etc. and violates civil liberties and shouldn’t be trusted.

              I myself am an ex-Green who at first looked at libertarians with very critical eyes until I kept challenging my assumptions and started to get a better grasp of economics and the regressive impact of government.

          3. Tell me what you see at the reunion. How many remain civil libertarian. Anti-war. Anti-government. Sorry, but a little too much of this has looked anti-Republican-violation-of-civil-liberties, anti-Republican-war and anti-Republican-government.

            1. I don’t go to reunions anymore. I can’t stomach them. I have one aunt who’s tolerable (she married in). She teaches at a low-income school so she puts her money where her mouth is, so to speak. But then she had an incident with one of her students and everything and everyone except the student caught the blame so I lost patience with her too.

            2. Again, if people are stuck in the two party false dichotomy, they vote for and put up with Obama and the Democrats because they are purportedly better in intention than Romney and the Republicans. They pay lip service to their values while completely failing at them, unlike Republicans who open attack their values and seek even more war. You simply can’t tell me Obama is more likely to get us into a large-scale war than Romney would have been. Romney was actively campaigning on doing that.

              And yes, I am disgusted that they sacrifice their principles for political expediency, just like I am when purportedly limited government conservatives do so.

              1. Except there’s a difference between saying “The other guy would have been worse.” and saying “The other guy would have been worse, so let’s pretend we don’t have a problem.” I’m sorry, but if they’re out in the streets protesting when a Republican is in office, yet not so much as uttering a peep when a Democrat is following the same or escalated version of the same policies, I have to question their actual opposition to the policies in the first place. I have to wonder whether their opposition was genuine or a pretext. If they were acknowledging they were wrong (as I have in the opposite direction), that would be one thing. But, to respond with blank stares or “Nah! Nah! Nah! I can’t hear you!!!” is something else entirely.”

                1. No I agree completely. I was extremely disappointed when I went to the Dallas Peace Center website a year or so ago, and the only protest on the radar was in support of public teachers unions. WTF.

                  Democrats justify Libya, Yemen, Syria CAR/Uganda, Mali, etc. by saying that these are small scale humanitarian missions and not full scale wars driven by us. It’s BS, but justifies their political choices in that “it’s better than what we probably would have had with McCain/Romney.” I still hear them grumble about stuff, but what are they going to do? Vote Republican?

      4. The progressives DO massively exploit the poor, so that’s why they attack capitalism and businessmen so viciously, why they rewrite history to include their shabby narrative: everything they say, think and do is a projection of their own evil against others.

        The truth is, economically, the poor are unexploitable. If they possessed intelligence and ability, they would be exploiting it themselves; and a man cannot grow rich by “robbing and exploiting” people who have no money and are unexploitable in the first place.

      5. “I’ve always thought that most progressives are nice people with good if severely misguided intentions and a failure to grasp the often counterintuitive nature of economics and thus they are easily misled by those in power.”

        I’ve always had a very opposite take on them. To me the nature of economics isn’t that counterintuitive. It doesn’t take most of us long to grasp TANSTAAFL and all that. In fact, a lot of progressives I’ve heard speak are very knowledgable about economics and justify their beliefs by saying that efficiency isn’t their highest value. It seems to me that they simply hate certain types of people (e.g. the rich, the religous, etc.) and want to stick it to them. They do it in the name of charity or whatever affords them political capital.

        1. “they simply hate certain types of people (e.g. the rich, the religous, etc.) and want to stick it to them.”

          In Minneapolis, they built the Twins Stadium next to a big garbage burner. So what did the people do who were pissed that the stadium was being built? They lobbied the government to more than double the garbage burning. Since when are progressives (and these folks were) support burning garbage? All they really cared about was trying to stick-it to their perceived enemies. Of course they were not successful, but I have no doubt they rubbed out gallons upon gallons of hate-cum while they were litigating.

          1. (e.g., “We’re gonna make those god damned jocks smell garbage while they watch the game! Fap, fap, fap, fap…)

          2. Huh? I don’t remember them asking for more burning.

            I do remember that after deciding to build next to a garbage burner, the Twins demanded that the city spend a half million dollars cleaning up the burner.

            There was nothing good about the deal for Target Field.

        2. Economics IS counterintuitive at face value. A shallow economic analysis would say that giving poor people money and housing helps them, that regulating corporations will prevent fraud and abuse and stop corporate conglomeration, that raising mandatory wages will help low-income workers, that the free market can not solve the problem of universal healthcare provision, that taxes on the wealthy means more tax revenue and that sending aid to third world countries can stop famine and disease. As we know, none of these things are the case and in fact cause the exact opposite of the intended result almost always.

          Politicians and statist sympathizers peddling this shallow economic analysis to well-intentioned people with a shallow economic understanding helps them keep power permanently, and creates more impoverished people and more corporate conglomeration, thus granting them scapegoats to blame while they ride the gravy train to personal wealth.

          1. All I know is, every time I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, I end up regretting it later.

            1. Perhaps you haven’t learned how to use their assumptions and lingo well enough to convince them to abandon or at least temper their statist tendencies? You have to prove convincingly your own good intentions in congruence with their good intentions, then provide “friendly advice” as to why their good intentions continue to fail in practice from a completely rational economic standpoint.

              1. Honestly though, I don’t think we’ll make any progress one way or another until the false two party dichotomy is broken. Even if you convince them libertarianism is better than Team Blue, you still have to get past their flawed belief that their vote actually matters and that they shouldn’t settle for the lesser of two evils.

                That’s why I’ve been considering the idea of starting a PAC with the sole purpose of running effective commercials arguing why people should abandon the two party dichotomy and should examine all options and pick the one they agree with most, not the lesser evil with the best chance of winning. Honestly, such a campaign would be far more broadly effective for third parties than wasting resources on failed political campaigns and PR people. With the utter failure of GJ, the most likeable and qualified LP candidate ever, I’m convinced this needs to be the libertarian movement’s #1 priority.

            2. I have to agree with KPres here. I have come across many progressives that do understand economics and simply don’t care. You really don’t have to be taught economics at a very deep level to grasp the concept of scarcity and competing choices. These concepts should be more persuasive at face value than the idea of free money. I know there are some progressives that have simply bought into a shallow economic analysis without every giving any thought to the implications, and there are those that could be persuaded toward libertarian ideas, just as there are socons that could be persuaded(I myself used to be a socon at one point). I just think there are many progressives that truly have ill intentions towards others and shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt.

              1. If they understand economics and don’t care, then they are not progressives but regressives, as that is the real world effect of their economic policies. I’m giving the average progressive benefit of the doubt that they are don’t understand economics well enough to recognize how regressive their policies are in effect.

      6. On a superficial level, yes. Once you get past the veneer, not so much. Sure many are decent if hopelessly naive souls. But, many are simply freeloaders looking to never take an iota’s responsibility for their own lives and many are petty tyrants looking to lord their unearned sense of superiority over others.

  7. just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall

    I’m guessing that the forebears were only at Stonewall.

    1. I thought there were only three bears?

      1. You’re not counting the aftbears.

      2. THERE ARE FOUR BEARS!

        1. Are you sure? Tell me again, how many bears do you see?

          1. If I say there are 3 bears, will the Big Zero resign?

            I’ll say anything to make it stop.

            1. there is no numerically right or wrong answers. How many bears do you feel that there are?

              /NEA drone

              1. Just the one:

                http://besthairremovalguide.co…..ar_man.jpg

    2. No mention of anything involving the historical American nation other than lies about how they were supposedly class warriors. But I guess that’s “progress” to the cosmos.

  8. It’s not clear if he’ll push for, say, federal tax recognition of gay couples that is equal to that of straight ones.

    If it means adding pages to the U.S. Tax Code, it’s within the realm of possibility.

  9. Invoking the gay rights movement (Stonewall) is a good thing and it marks a step forward for presidential discourse.

    Yes, because nothing forwards human Liberty more than collectivizing people according to their sexual practices.

    1. No, not really.

      Stonewall totally predates the collectivist “Gay Identity” concept.

      Stonewall was just about a bunch of guys who wanted to hang around and get drunk and maybe do a little dancing and wanted to be left in peace to do it, who were opposed by a NYC police establishment that was determined to not let them do so, “for the good of society” and/or “for the childrenz” who might be harmed by the knowledge that these guys existed in the world.

      The modern gay rights movement may have a strong collectivist element, but the Stonewall rioters just wanted to be left the fuck alone, and you can’t get much more libertarian than that.

      1. But was it a fucking national tragedy?

  10. My gay sister thinks Obama actually means what he said. All he’s doing is feeding gay folk candy floss. And they gobble it up.

    1. As Scott S posted earlier, Obama only took that position once there was absolutely zero chance of it harming him politically in any way.

    2. What is funny is I could see him pushing for civil unions or gay marriages to be treated equally for tax status as straight marriages and pushing this as a ‘Pro Gay Rights’ movement even as he creates tax policies reinstating and reinforcing the marriage tax penalty.

    3. They really don’t care about equal access to the marriage penalty or serving in the military. It’s about culture, and they want the dems in office so the culture will accept them.

      1. Yeah, none of them just want to serve in the military.

        Fuck off Slappy.

  11. HuffPo:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..ref=topbar

    Comments:

    broc51
    One never knows
    582 Fans Become a fan
    14 minutes ago (12:31 PM)
    I have heard pundants say it was the best second Inaugural speech since Lincoln

    HUFFPOST SUPER USER
    la maqina
    285 Fans Become a fan
    42 minutes ago (12:42 PM)
    According to the historians I watched last night, the rate it in the top three. They believe the obama presidency just might be known as one of the three alltime greatest. Roosevelt and lincoln, and possibly Jefferson’s, but hard to compare that far back!!

    Jesus, these people are impervious to reality.

    1. “Rating” inaugural speeches like that is so stupid as to be fucking retarded. They’re not impervious to reality, they’re just fucking pathetically stupid sycophants.

    2. It’s easily the 2nd best inaugural speech since 2008.

    3. The first rule of HuffPo is Don’t Read Fucking HuffPo.

      1. You know, you can’t say that about every online media outlet other than Reason.

        1. Zero Hedge? Drudge Report?

          1. Drudge Report is a media aggregator, not a media outlet. It routinely links to outlets like NYT and HuffPo. So if you read Drudge, you read a little bit of everything (with an enormous publication bias.)

            1. I thought that’s what Huffington Post does? Just link to other stuff? I’ve never actually visited the site.

        2. I can say it about most of the popular lefty ones, though.

          I have seen barely anything worth mentioning ever come out of Salon, Slate, HuffPo, or Gawker media.

          The only reason those sites should be read is to drink the delicious tears of their respective Commentariat.

          1. Slate is a no-go zone since Hitchens passed.

            1. Salon is the same since Greenwald went to the Guardian.

    4. What the fuck is a “pundant”? Is that a political analyst you wear on a chain around your neck or something?

  12. “…to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

    When Obama says that, he doesn’t mean the same thing I say when I say that.

    When I say that, I mean that asserting my own individual rights means I’m asserting the rights of every other individual, but when he says that, he means that we are only free to do those things that are a net benefit to everyone else.

    But a society in which we’re only free to do those things that are in everyone else’s best interest is not a free society.

    It’s great that free markets aren’t a zero-sum game, but that’s just icing on the cake. Free markets work great for society generally and for most individuals, too, but I am not here for your benefit. If you’re in my industry, I want to take all your most profitable projects away from you–for myself. Oh, and I’m after your woman, too.

    And there isn’t a damn thing about my freedom to do any of that Barack Obama needs to “inextricably bind to the freedom of every soul on Earth”. I’m livin’ life for me.

    1. “…he means that we are only free to do those things that are a net benefit to everyone else Democrats voters.”

      FIFY.

  13. is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall;

    I guess those freedom fighters at Wounded Knee can fuck off.

  14. Nick happens to believe in state-assisted(coercive) safety net (welfare). A rose by any other name, Mr. Gillespie.

    1. A turd in lake Michigan is a lot different than a turd in your coffee, though they are both turds. If you are searching for perfect freedom you’re probably on the wrong planet.

      1. This turd is in every taxable person’s coffee.

  15. You can never get these fucking idiots to understand that every single one of their civil rights heroes was fighting *against* the government laws that oppressed them. Jesus christ they are a bunch of bootlicking koolaid drinkers..

    1. In my Improved History Class, I am teaching that the civil rights movement was against the evil corporations that forced them to buy white bread and didn’t give everybody a Cadillac.

      /subsidized Professor Parasite

  16. This isn’t an example of the ‘royal we’, in which the ‘we’ refers to an individual. ‘We’ here is used by one presuming to be a spokesperson for his audience.

    1. The Royal We has a history of being used to encompass everyone and be all-inclusive.

    2. The Royal “We” usually includes everyone but the one uttering “we”.

      I like to use the “royal we” when what I’m suggesting is that everyone around me (either an individual or a group) will be hopping-to, while I sit idly by pointing.

    3. Historically the royal “we” was used by kings because they were believed to be chosen by God and all their actions were the will of God (divine right) so “we” meant “God and I.”

      I’m guessing this is closer to the “we” that BO uses.

  17. “Seriously, do you know anybody remotely in a position to influence policy who thinks that the government should never help anyone under any circumstances?”

    OK – I am not even remotely in a position …, but…

    I believe it is ok, maybe even proper for the government to resolve property conflicts. I am open (but not committed) to the idea that there are some things the government should manage (ROADZ!, money supply, air quality …). But I absolutely believe that when a G, particularly a democracy, gets involved in solving peoples’ personal problems, no matter how serious, we are on the road to hell.

  18. We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.

    “We reject the belief that there is such a thing as competing choices, that there’s such a thing as scarcity and Opportunity Cost! We reject economics!”

    While he’s at it, maybe he can also abolish gravity so we can all fly.

    1. It’s like he’s out to prove that Thomas Sowell quote about the first rule of economics and the first rule of politics.

    2. Round pi off to 3 too. I bet that would improve math scores immediately.

    3. “While he’s at it, maybe he can also abolish gravity so we can all fly.”

      As a Democrat, Obama’s official stance is that gravity is a conspiracy concocted by the oil companies to coerce people into buying cars and fuel.

  19. We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.

    How will we refer to the next up-and-coming generation of entitlement receivers?

  20. I happen to believe in a state-assisted safety net – which is precisely why Medicaid is so outrageous. It’s a huge waste of money that chronically under-delivers.

    It needs moar moneys.

  21. When I live in Thailand people regularly sold “rotting fish” (bla ra) to happy customers. The problem with the Obama fish mongering is that there are 10’s of millions of fools out there who not only buy it but think it’s manna from heaven.

  22. and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.

    It’s troubling how often Obama claims openly that the only possible source of help is the government.

  23. Why is a mentioning stonewall “a step in the right direction?” Sure, a bunch of gay guys got mad at the cops. Why is it a national tragedy? Why is it “a step in the right direction” to endorse sodomy on the steps of the capital? BECAUSE THIS IS A MAGAZINE OF COSMOTARIANISM NOT LIBERTARIANISM.

    1. I thought it was more about not condemning nor endorsing sodomy on the steps of the capital.

    2. FYI, you sound very butthurt. Poor wittle baby.

      1. Where did the big, bad cosmotarian man touch you?

  24. Gillespie writes that Obama’s speech nets out to “Obama taking credit for advances in individual rights with which he had next to no involvement and his defending programs that fail to achieve anything more than the dispossession of the young and powerless.”

    Gillespie is too kind. The only individual rights Obama addressed were gay rights which he opposed before he was elected. Instead Obama praised the collective and government. Meanwhile, his actions have been contrary to individual rights.

    A better summary would be Obama praises government programs in giving us everything he believes we need, meanwhile and not mentioned, he works at taking away our freedoms and our property to do it, via programs that fail to achieve anything more than the dispossession of the young and powerless.

  25. To say this—

    So more power to Obama for embracing individual rights on any level.

    About the man who said this–

    “But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

    Shows such a stunning disconnect that it leaves one flabbergasted.

    Of course, when considering that this person also said this–

    I happen to believe in the state taking citizens money through threat of force and giving it to people who the state believes need it more

    Oops, that was what it meant–this is what he said–

    I happen to believe in a state-assisted safety net

    Angling for a choice HuffPo move?

  26. So more power to Obama for embracing individual rights on any level

    So when is Nick going to go full Weigel?

  27. I have struggled with a belief in a state assisted safety net, but I can’t imagine how in the hands of the state it would look any different than Medicaid or produce better results. Perhaps if it were the only state assistance program. Some deity please save me from good intentions and lingering liberal brain washing.

    1. I finally got around to Ayn Rand’s short story Anthem and now understand perfectly Obama’s use of the word “We”.

      Ayn Rand, Anthem: “The word “We” is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

      What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?

      But I am done with this creed of corruption.

      I am done with the monster of “We,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

      And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

      This god, this one word:

      “I.”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.