Senator Scott Brown’s American Truck, the Cargo Cult and a Siren’s Song
Recently, Republican Senator Scott Brown worried many of his supporters by voting in favor of cloture, moving Sen. Harry Reid’s ‘Jobs’ bill forward in the U.S. Senate. Given that Sen. Brown’s campaign had in fact focused on his independence in the Massachusetts legislature, his vote did not surprise me. However in light of Washington Democrats’ oblivious lockstep march towards the tried and failed ideals of socialism, I held out some hope that Sen. Brown would recognize that bi-partisanship could wait until Blue Dog Democrats wrest some control of the Democratic Party away from the radical left. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to debate the limits of social and economic responsibility under the Constitution in a bi-partisan manner, but to negotiate with those attempting to undermine the Constitution and American sovereignty is pointless. America needs to win.
It’s going to take a sound thumping of both ‘progressive’ Democrats and ‘progressive’ light Republicans in 2010, if the American experiment, our representative republic, has any chance of surviving. If fact, it may already be too late unless real changes begin to be made in the psyche of ordinary Americans. The problem is that people tend to vote for who and what they perceive as being in their own self-interest. I would suggest that many of these voters are in fact not voting in their self-interest, but are answering a siren’s song – a song sung mainly by Obama and the Democratic Party.
It’s a song meant to blind Americans to the reality of what’s required for sustainable, fiscally responsible government; and for that matter, the requirements for individual fiscal responsibility. It’s a song meant to sear the flesh of Americans with distorted notions of the responsibilities of our federal government. It’s a song meant to establish the mindset of entitlement from cradle to grave. It’s a song that makes it politically incorrect to urge personal responsibility or suggest that consequences might fall on those seduced by shortsighted destructive Democrat rhetoric. It’s a song that ultimately leads to less liberty and freedom.
The Democratic Party has always been concerned with creating and maintaining the dependence of voters, setting themselves up as the protectors of entitlements. Even when they fail to achieve what they have promised, they milk their efforts for every drop of voter loyalty they can get and vilify anyone daring to look at the true fiscal ramifications of their actions. It’s been that way for years.
However today’s Democrats take it even further, they know full well what they are promising/creating is not sustainable and will bankrupt the nation. (Cap & Trade, Stimulus, Bailouts, Government takeovers, Healthcare, etc.) Yet they continue to attempt to ram their ideas down the throats of Americans even though large majorities dislike them.
Could it really be they believe any legislative success, no matter how damaging to America’s economy, will help their own political futures in the 2010 elections? Get past the elections and then find a way to blame George Bush, Republicans, or even Ahmadinejad when the house of cards collapse. Some have suggested their true strategy is cause the collapse of the entire system; then take over and start over with something much less a meritocracy, something with more centralized control, something more akin to socialism. Either way, America suffers.
Look at Social Security and Medicare. This year Social Security began paying out more in benefits than it receives in tax revenues. It’s clearly not sustainable. Social Security in dire shape and action needs to be taken yesterday. But, Obama knows that people who have paid Social Security taxes for their entire working life will punish anyone who dares change the system in order to make it more sustainable for future generations? Social Security is a sacred cow that can’t be touched without political consequences being paid at the next election. Democrats cannot afford to add to voter anger right now about Social Security. Not yet
So what do they do? They ignore Social Security and set off to create an even bigger entitlement.
What will happen IF Government run healthcare becomes a reality? Instead of one or two sacred cows, they are creating a sacred herd to be fed by small business and taxpayers?
Democrats are selling Obama’s healthcare program by saying it will lower healthcare costs. They know it will not. You cannot insure 30 million more people and expect costs to go down. The only things that will go down are the quality of care and the ability of the patient to determine their own treatment. Rationed care will be the outcome and it will suck to be old.
Once Obamacare is put in place and health workers unionized, a new self-serving voting block will be created that will be able to block everything they oppose regardless of how it effects ordinary Americans. A unionized government run healthcare will be able to prevent politicians who they perceive as threats from ever being elected and prevent meaningful changes from taking place. It happened in the UK.
How many unionized health workers would emerge in a government run healthcare system? Healthcare is 20% of America’s economy – tens of millions?
It really is like Benjamin Franklin said at the founding of this nation:
“When the people find they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic.” Benjamin Franklin
From what I can surmise, millions of Americans who pay absolutely no federal income tax already have the expectation that Obamacare will be free for them. I see few people who actually know the details of what is being proposed. How it will be paid for seems to be of even less interest to them. Obama and Democrats have effectively been making the case to non-taxpayers that ‘money fairies’ will fly out of the butts of ‘rich fat cats’ to pay for healthcare for them.
There is no display of awareness among non-taxpayers that government cannot continue to raise taxes on small business owners. Eventually, business will say enough. They will be forced or choose to sell/close their businesses, take their nest eggs, retire and watch the bewilderment on the faces of Americans wondering where the jobs are. There will be a point where it is just not worth the price of having to deal with an overreaching government and selfish labor unions demanding higher and higher benefits without regard to how it effects business viability.
America should be in a recovery with job creation by now, but uncertainty about higher taxes and restrictions coming out of the Obama administration has everyone in the business world gun-shy. (That’s the same reason several health insurance providers are now raising their rates, they can’t predict what will happen tomorrow.)
In international development work today, the dominant idea is sustainability. And, the most important factors that predict project sustainability are when people in communities have identified their own needs and when they have a real stake in the project (money, labor, time, etc.). Of course, free projects seem most attractive, but free frequently fails in development work. If communities themselves have identified the problem (as opposed to having an outside ‘expert’ telling the community what they need) and they have a sufficient stake, personal investment – they are more likely to become empowered and take responsible for both the project and consequences.
(It’s like the requirement for a down payment when purchasing a house. It’s much more likely that such a person will do all they can to make payments so they don’t lose their investment.)
Free has been tried over and over in development work. It fails over and over. In International Development simply throwing money at problems does not work. If fact, frequently it does more harm than good. The worst outcome one can imagine is the ‘Cargo Cult’ mentality that arose in the Pacific shortly after World War II. Unfortunately, it looks like many Americans are well on their way down that same road and politicians are encouraging it.
During World War II, Americans and Japanese forces brought millions of tons of material and lots of manpower to the Pacific Islands. Most villagers had little awareness of the how, where, or why the goods came to their islands. The goods came and came and expectations rose that goods would keep coming even after the troops left the islands. ‘Cargo Cults’ had existed before WWII but they had a major revival after the war in the Pacific. Instead of relying on themselves, looking to themselves, making decisions based on their own situations, Pacific Island villagers became seduced by the hope of easy pickings. “To attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.”
How is that different from the ritualistic practice of voting for a particular Party in hopes of getting something for free? Or consumers holding off making purchases they need in order to wait for some sort of ‘cash for clunkers’ government deal? Or Cash for Caulkers? The seduction of free stuff falling from the sky with no effort on anyone’s part is tempting I suppose. Free healthcare, free social security, no hard decisions, fat pensions subsidized by ordinary taxpayers, cash for clunkers, no personal responsibility – wow that sounds too good to be true. It is. There is always a price that has to be paid.
However, it seems that more and more Americans could really care less as long as someone else pays their way through life, as long as benefits continue to drop from the sky. The song is strong, hard to resist, and it impearls our Republic’s future.
‘Entitlements’ cause people to vote for the politicians making unrealistic promises and to fear those who speak of mundane things like balanced budgets. They cause people to become complacent (lazy) and selfish. (I have a cousin that wouldn’t consider starting to look for work until her unemployment actually ran out.) They cause voting blocks to form that look almost always at what they can receive and almost never at what they may need to sacrifice for the well being of the Republic. (AARP, NAACP, ACORN, SEIU) They make it possible for politicians to attack other rights and freedoms vis-à-vis the dependency on a particular entitlement such as government run healthcare should it be enacted (guns, smoking, drinking, eating habits, etc.). When one is in the trance of the siren’s song, it’s easy to pick one’s pocket. Furthermore, ‘entitlements’ influenced/controlled by politicians make individuals afraid to rock the boat out of fear they may lose benefits. (Look what happened to Larry Sinclair and his Social Security Disability for continuing with his allegations that he and Obama did drugs and engaged in consensual sex in 1999.)
Americans have to know (on some level) that the nation is at or near bankruptcy; and believing in Obama’s ‘flying money fairies’ does not change reality. Our Republic is just there – a shining beacon on the hill and all it requires is for Americans to choose Representatives who most closely represent our aspired to values and principles, but if enough of us answer the siren’s song…you know the rest.
If people who receive or may receive benefits from the government in the future were to actually vote their own best interest – they would be looking closely at the sustainability of government programs (the long view), the proper role of government, Constitutional limitations, the health of the Republic, effects on business/taxpayers, fairness, our values and principles, protecting individual rights, freedoms and responsibilities. They would not be voting based on who promises to give them the most.
They would recognize that the government must act in a fiscal responsible manner if critical programs are to survive in the future for the disabled, infirm and those who truly find themselves in situations requiring assistance.
One day every person will need a hand up and a hand needs to be there to help – not just one extended in exchange for a vote. (I certainly have needed that hand in my lifetime.)
There is really only one way that might encourage people to take their own power of personal initiative back and protects their rights/freedoms from government and politicians. It is a way that encourages people in moderate need to rely on their friends and families – and illuminates the importance of both. It is a way that encourages the restoration of individual dignity. It’s not PC – not because it’s not – but because politicians don’t want it to be. However, if enacted, it would actually free politicians to vote for what’s in the best long-term interest of their constituents. It requires a choice to be made by the individual as to when or if they reach their hand up for assistance from the government.
Imagine what would happen if when a person went on welfare, received worker’s compensation, unemployment, social security, opted for a ‘public healthcare option’ or received some other government benefit – they surrender the privilege of voting. (Unless they were determined to be permanently disabled or permanently unable to be gainfully employed.)
Wouldn’t that encourage injured workers (citizens) to come back to work earlier or unemployed workers to look a little harder? Maybe hunting season isn’t as important as voting. (For some it wouldn’t matter and they probably shouldn’t be voting anyway.)
Wouldn’t it encourage people to get off the public dole as quickly as they could?
Wouldn’t it encourage older citizens of sufficient means to not draw social security at all? Social Security was set up as a safety net, not a retirement plan.
Wouldn’t it encourage some senior citizens old enough to draw social security but in good health to delay leaving the work force?
Wouldn’t it encourage older small business owners to stay in business a few years longer?
Wouldn’t it allow politicians to actually do their jobs and make such programs sustainable without fear of the next election?
It’s like the Republic is Sen. Scott Brown’s old American truck going up a steep mountain. The engine powering the truck is small business and taxpayers. And every other person the truck passes is encouraged by Scott’s Democratic friends in the Senate to climb in back for a free ride with the only charge being a pat on the back and the promise of their vote. Pretty soon the truck, the Republic, has millions of people piled in its bed. The tires start to bulge and engine begins to sputter. The gas tank is almost empty and not one will get out of the truck first to help push. Not one union, not one person wants to be first to help Scott Brown or his American truck by pulling their own weight while others ride. Pretty soon the truck’s tires explode, the engine’s timing belt breaks, a piston rod snaps – everything stops – with the exception of the finger pointing at Scott Brown for not maintaining his (our) American truck.
Dear Senator Scott Brown: The time for bi-partisanship is not yet here, not until the Blue Dogs restore the Democratic Party to something that is not trying to destroy the Constitution and our freedoms. Republicans should proudly take the title of being ‘the Party of kNOw’ because they know what’s going on.
I do realize that there may be a few Constitutional problems with limiting people’s ability to vote. However, if Obama can so easily flaunt Article II, Section I of the Constitution that requires every person who is elected to the Office of the Presidency to be a ‘natural born citizen’, what’s the problem?
Note: I need to credit Rush Limbaugh for mentioning the cargo cults recently on the radio. Rush’s comment planted the seed for this article.
Rush’s face is on Janet Napoliano’s golf balls!