Our View: Freedom’s last stand?

Posted: October 2, 2013

As America braces for Day Two of the first (partial) government shutdown in nearly 20 years — or as some quipsters call it, a much-needed break from Leviathan — the daily stock in trade among the punditocracy, even members who consider themselves conservative, is Monday-morning commentary advising Republicans what they should have said in making a case for their current course of action. Most of it falls under the category of boilerplate, though two observers of the political scene presented points well worth mentioning.

Writing for Townhall.com, George Jarkesy invoked the spirit of Ronald Reagan, reminding us of a sage admonition offered by The Gipper at the dawn of his political career — namely, that if Americans cease in their defense of freedom, “one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”

In other words, if we don’t take a stand for freedom, and for the free-market, free-enterprise economic system animated by it, we’ll go the way of other great civilizations that abandoned their foundational principles, their national character. There is nothing in America’s collective DNA that renders us immune to a decline initiated by a failure of vigilance, or a forfeiture of will.

Columnist Bill Murchison took a slightly different tack to a similar conclusion. Also advocating “intense and constant philosophical discussion,” Mr. Murchison favors a national examination of conscience rather than a continued focus on current symptomatic woes — i.e., President Obama and his signature health-care law. Essentially, he states, the problem is not so much ObamaCare as it is “us.”

Thus, “the main problem of a health-care system funded by government isn’t the cost of the thing, or even the lack of efficiency. It’s the unsuitability of government health care in a country jealous of its liberties.”

And so the primary message shouted from the rooftops by the Ted Cruzes of the world should be this: The president and his law, lamentable though they may be, are mere “passing afflictions” compared to what they represent — a “delusory proposition that opportunity means someone else’s good luck,” the notion that government exists to distribute (or redistribute) goodies and, thereby, assume greater and greater control over the lives of a once-free people.

Needless to say, this is how republics, and the civilizations they spawn, wither and die.