Liberty Was Silent Last Night


Christiane Amanpour of ABC News declared President Obama’s State of the Union speech to be “very Reaganesque.”  Once again, Amanpour treats ABC viewers to the kind of insightful analysis they could expect from an extraterrestrial who landed on Earth yesterday.  Is it really so hard for ABC to find an anchor who knows the first thing about Ronald Reagan? 

Let me tell you something about Reagan, Ms. Amanpour: he was a great believer in liberty, and that was nowhere to be found in the halls of Congress last night.

One of Reagan’s most famous and witty lines was, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  If it stops moving, subsidize it.”  Obama spoke expansively of doing all three in his State of the Union address.

The President who spoke last night has a rapturous faith in the power of Big Government programs, going as far comparing them to the engine in an overloaded airplane.  Reagan said that “concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.”

Barack Obama is, without question, an advocate of concentrated power, and thus an enemy of liberty.  He may sincerely believe his statist agenda is best for the people he governs, but he wants to govern them intensely. 

If he makes good on the proposals in his State of the Union speech, Americans will be compelled to subsidize “green” programs they would not willingly invest in.  Obama says he wants to put “a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”  Americans will not buy a million electric vehicles unless they are heavily subsidized – in other words, other people are forced to pay for them.  We will be permitted choices only within a narrow range that conforms to Obama’s ideology.  “Some folks want wind and solar,” he cheerfully allowed.  “Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas.”  What about the people who just want to fill their car with affordable gas, so they can drive to work?

Fresh billions will be pumped into infrastructure projects selected by the central government, and paid for by everyone, rather than being chosen and financed by the local people who actually use them.  The last trillion-dollar “stimulus” included billions for high-speed rail, but the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin rejected those plans, because they didn’t make sense in their areas.  The Obama Administration would not allow them to spend the money on transportation needs they did identify.  It was shipped off to other states instead.

Massive rail projects are an expression of control over liberty.  Those trains will go only where the government wants them to go.  There is very little room for innovation, or for small companies to discover and exploit opportunity.  The internal combustion engine is one of the greatest innovations in personal liberty ever devised.  Of course statists despise it.

Education will continue to be a lavishly funded menu of choices controlled by Big Government and its most ardent supporters, the teachers unions.  You will not be allowed to choose your own school, or exercise control over a wasteful and failed education bureaucracy by withdrawing your financial support.  The only specific problem Obama cited with education was that not enough people are paying for overpriced, under-valued college diplomas… a problem he proposes to correct by forcing everyone else to subsidize them even more.

Americans will not be allowed to decide how many immigrants to allow across our borders, or what qualifications they must meet.  We will be forced to subsidize the education of illegal aliens by granting them discounted in-state tuition rates, unavailable to Americans.  Those who invested much effort in navigating our creaky immigration bureaucracy, to earn a true and cherished citizenship, will be made to stand quietly and watch their prize given away for free to anyone who spends a couple of years working on those subsidized degrees.  A legal immigrant’s taxes will be used to support the education of illegal aliens.

Our business enterprises will continue to be heavily regulated, although our overlords promise to think a little more carefully about how many jobs are crushed by “unreasonable” exercises of government power.  Our health care choices are gone forever, except for the lucky few who got ObamaCare waivers.  The wealthiest Americans will have to surrender more of their income, despite having committed no crime.

Every dollar of government spending is an instrument of control.  Billions more dollars were committed during the State of the Union address, and none were given back.  We were explicitly told that only Big Government can build the future.  That is the agenda Ronald Reagan dedicated his life to defeating, and we only talk about it now because people like Christiane Amanpour and her allies persuaded Americans to forget about his victory.  I would appreciate it if they stopped trying to appropriate Reagan’s name to describe speeches they liked.