I’ve quoted Abraham Lincoln before:
As a basis for interventionist, collectivist and socialist actions by the central planners in our federal government, this 1854 quote of Abraham Lincoln is often used:
“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, individual capacities.”
On Sunday, September 30th, 1934, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used it in one of his fireside chats, his Depression era radio communiqué to the American people – the subject of which were the steps taken by the government during the Great Depression and the proposals that would eventually become the Social Security Act of 1935.
The Lincoln quote is accurate – but incomplete. What followed those 38 words were 16 more that completely changed the context and meaning of the quote. Those were:
“In all that people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”
Lincoln’s words seem so alien to our contemporary approach to government. With the growth of “progressive” thought in the late 1880’s, the social programs of the Great Depression and the modern incarnations – Johnson’s “Great Society/War on Poverty” and Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a large segment of America has shifted from trust in the individual to faith in government.
Conservatives have been using Obamacare as a prime example of an area where “government ought not to interfere”.
It is not an isolated situation, it is a plan that liberals in government have followed for the last 100 years to gradually assert authority over more and more of American life…and before you liberals get your thongs in a twist, the fact that government does more and is present in areas where it wasn’t just 50 years ago is undeniable. That’s what you have worked for – so to deny that you have been successful is untruthful.
During the “healthcare” debate we posited that if the government is responsible for your “healthcare” then they will eventually assert control over factors that contribute to it – what you do, what you eat, in what environment you live, what you are (through genetics and your own DNA) and eventually , what you believe.
Nothing will be off limits if it effects “health”.
If the government decides that what you believe is secondary to what they define as their mission to provide “healthcare”, those beliefs will be disregarded. All is proceeding as I have foreseen:
One consequence of these fluid and deep cultural changes, which fit so poorly into some of our typical master categories, is a strong temptation to invite government to establish a new role in our lives that imitates and ratifies these social and individual ideas. Obamacare may be politically polarizing, but much less controversial is the vague sense that 0nly the federal government can prevail as the health care provider of last resort.
The problem is that, for reasons which have very little to do with anyone’s attitudes about religion, Americans are also very vague on what health is. The unmistakable trend, however, is toward the same broad interpretation of health as we have traditionally lent to faith. Physical, mental, sexual — it’s hard to envision a social or individual practice that most Americans would place firmly outside the realm of ‘health issues’.
Unfortunately for Americans, our cultural holism about health is giving rise to a logic that creates huge problems for our cultural holism about faith and spiritualism. Viewing more or less everything as a health issue leads to a maximalist vision of health care — one where terms like “full spectrum” and “best practices” come into prominent view. Everyone wants the best access to the best care for the most health issues they can get, and everyone is aware of how great our mixed-market success has been in producing incredible medicines, drugs, procedures, and treatments. The costs of providing and managing care, as everyone also knows, can be very difficult to control, and the task of allocating the resources necessary to an effective infrastructure of care is one that the current cartel-like system is not doing very well. These are all cues that lead many people to form some loose preliminary judgments with the ones that Obamacare is now trying to make concrete and systematize.
Poulos takes note of what Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner wrote yesterday:
[...] why should only religious institutions be allowed to exercise their consciences? The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. Should government be allowed to force ordinary people to violate the moral laws to which they subscribe?
Those who propose that religion should never be part of governance, that it should forever be secular, use the famous letter of Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists as evidence:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Yet Obamacare is in direct conflict with the supposed doctrine of separation of church and state because it supposes that the state is superior to the church. Forcing Catholic organizations to distribute birth control proves that in their view, concerns over “healthcare” trump religious belief.
The fact that they cannot conceptualize that Obamacare is the greatest assault to liberty since the New Deal is proof that liberals are only interested in a “progressive”/Marxist agenda and creation of a collectivist government. To argue that government definitions of “health” that allow it to violate First Amendment rights are acceptable constitutes conclusive proof of their duplicity and deceit They are only interested in power over others and Obamacare is the Trojan Horse that gets them there.
The liberal proposition that we can only truly be free through bigger government with more laws, regulations and assertion of control over more of our daily activities seems counterintuitive to me…but this is the point at which the liberal agenda supplants freedom with “fairness” (which in their lexicon is yet another undefinable, amorphous, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” concept).
It is a short trip from this “logic” to exactly what we are seeing today when liberals dismiss the clear words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence by redefining their meaning. The redefinition of liberty and freedom have been underway for decades and due to the success of the collectivists, statists and secular humanists in this process, they are now attacking the last bulwark of American independence, the free exercise of religion.
There is a reason that Marx feared religion – it stipulates that there is an authority that is higher than man and his government – God – and since a belief in God rests in the heart of the individual, to believe in God is to believe in independence.
An assault on any individual liberty is an assault on all liberty.