Look carefully at this photo. It depicts a recent May Day demonstration in Arizona. Note that the demonstrators carried more American flags than Mexican flags, though I wonder whether this was due more to their reluctance to evoke hostility than to their patriotic sentiments.
But now note the young woman carrying a small American flag in one hand and a placard in the other. Read the placard. Consider what she wants – or rather, what she demands that others provide for her:
● Free health care.
● A job with no taxes on the salary.
● A house.
Her justification for these demands is clear: “You owe us, America.” In other words, America is “you,” as distinct from “us.” It is unclear whether “us” is Latinos, or working people, or leftists. But what is painfully clear is that “us” is not Americans. On the contrary, Americans are a different group, one which owes “us” – presumably to repay “us” for some wrong done in the past.
I have three questions: (1) Where did the demonstrator get these unrealistic, destructive, divisive ideas? (2) Is the demonstrator, and all those who hold similar beliefs, capable of being a citizen of a free country? (3) What, if anything, can we Americans do to remedy this problem?
To take the questions in order, it is obvious where young people get such ideas. They go to elementary school, then middle school, then high school. Often they go on to a university, and sometimes graduate school. And at every level, they are exposed to teachers, professors, and textbooks that are biased in a leftward direction.
They are taught – or rather indoctrinated – that Western nations in general, and America in particular, have a destructive influence in the world. They are taught that other nations are poor because America is rich. Of course, other nations were even poorer before America appeared on the world stage, but this fact is never mentioned.
For example, students were taught that we “stole” the oil from the Middle East. But before British and American oil companies discovered and developed the oil, no one knew it was there, much less knew how to profit from it. Indeed, the very word “profit” is given a negative connotation. Oddly, leftist thinking gives no such negative connotation to the word “loss.” This explains as well as anything the sorry state of socialist economies the world over.
But these leftist ideas are utterly unrealistic. Nothing is “free.” If health care is “free,” it is paid for by taxpayers and rationed by bureaucrats. And if bureaucrats decide that a six-year-old girl with cerebral palsy can’t get surgery that might help her walk, she won’t get the surgery.
As the old saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. And if the tune is “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You,” then put your affairs in order and say goodbye to your loved ones and friends. Or as President Obama puts it, “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” But don’t complain – you wanted “free” health care, and you got what you paid for.
It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.
– Milton Friedman, Nobel laureate in economics
To go on to the second question, is this demonstrator – and all those who think like her – capable of being a citizen of a constitutional republic? Does she see herself as a citizen or a subject? Does she see government as Washington saw it – “…like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master”? Or does she see government as leftists see it – a group of the “elite” empowered to regulate virtually everything in order to create their notion of “fairness” and “equality”? Clearly, this is the case.
The demonstrator sees government not as a group of citizens, temporarily entrusted with the minimum power necessary to preserve order at home and prevent attacks from abroad. Instead, she sees government as a piñata filled with goodies provided by someone else – anyone else. And she believes that the harder she hits the piñata, the more goodies she will obtain. Thus far, we have done nothing to challenge this belief.
Her belief in hitting the piñata is quite literal. If you doubt this, read the last words on the placard, appropriately scrawled in red. She threatens to continue shooting police “until we get FREE.” You see, living in one of the freest and most prosperous nations in human history isn’t “FREE” to her. No, for her, to be “FREE” is to live in a “people’s democracy” where the government enforces “social justice.”
That’s a real problem. Once people modify basic concepts with adjectives, the essential meaning is often lost, even perverted.
● There are democracies, where the people rule, either directly or through their elected representatives. The latter is the ideal on which our nation was founded. And then there are “people’s democracies,” where bureaucrats enforce their whims on a powerless populace. The “elite” believe they know what is best for the “common” people – and have the power to force it down people’s throats.
● There is justice, where impartial judges rule on disputes without regard to whether the parties are rich or poor, black or white, or whatever. This is the ideal of justice that the Bible commands and our legal tradition teaches. And then there is “social justice,” where powerful bureaucrats take from groups they dislike and give to groups they favor. There is no fixed law – there is only the whim of the powerful.
Consider the incessant changes the president makes to ObamaCare. As Charles Krauthammer points out, the law exists only in Obama’s head. The law is what he says it is today; tomorrow it may be something different. This is the very definition of tyranny – the leader is the law.
The essence of tyranny is not iron law; it is capricious law.
– Christopher Hitchens
Prior waves of immigrants came to escape oppression, poverty, and lack of opportunity. My father came because he was forbidden to attend a university. He wound up a respected physician. My uncles came to escape persecution. They wound up respected businessmen. Like millions of others, they came to be Americans.
Many current immigrants come for similar reasons. But many others come to take what they can from the “rich gringos,” who (they believe) got rich by exploiting the poor. They come bringing with them from home their notion of an authoritarian government. But they do not see America as their new home. They see it as a place of looted riches, from which they are entitled to take whatever they can get. Their allegiance is to their ethnic group and leftism, not to America and American ideals. They are not being Americanized – they don’t want to be, and we aren’t even trying.
Now we come to the third question: What can we Americans do?
● We can insist that schools and universities offer balanced courses using balanced textbooks. We can see that they hire educators who want to teach, not indoctrinate.
● We can refuse to patronize films that slander our religion, our nation, our government, and our military.
●We can demand that ballots be printed only in English – a reasonable request, since a reading knowledge of English is required for citizenship.
● We can demand photo ID for voting, so we have at least a vague idea of the people who are choosing our leaders.
● We can control our borders, so we have at least a vague idea of the people who are entering our country.
● We can elect leaders who do not encourage people to see our country as a piñata – and who do not see it as a piñata themselves.
For most people, the symbol of America is the bald eagle. This magnificent bird soars to great heights and is fierce in protecting its young. It evokes inspiration and admiration. But to an increasing number of people, the symbol of America is the piñata, which often takes the form of a jackass. It gives out goodies when it is hit, but when it is empty, it is discarded in the trash. It evokes only laughter.
Just as our founders demanded No taxation without representation, we must demand No immigration without Americanization. Or we can just forget the whole thing and take a whack at the piñata ourselves. Who knows? We might get lucky and wind up with a pile of goodies. More likely, we will find out, too late, that we are the piñata.
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