On-again/off-again libertarian Steve Chapman is dead on in this devastating criticism of Barack Obama’s campaign:
The Founding Fathers set out to protect “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but Barack Obama has a different idea.
The “essence of America’s promise,” he declared in Denver, is “individual responsibility and mutual responsibility”–rather than, say, individual freedom and mutual respect for rights. The “promise of America,” he said, is “the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.”
In reality, that fundamental belief is what you might call the promise of socialism. What has set this country apart since its inception is not the notion of obligations but the notion of rights.
Of course, Chapman has almost exactly the same criticism of John McCain’s Campaign:
That idea got lost somewhere between Thomas Jefferson and John McCain. What do Republicans believe in? McCain told us Thursday: “We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law…. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities.”
Would it be too much to mention that what sustains the American vision of those things is freedom? That without it, personal responsibility becomes hollow and service is servitude?
Apparently it would. Republicans are big on promoting freedom abroad, but in this country, the term encompasses a lot of things they don’t like–the right to a “homosexual lifestyle,” the right to protest the Iraq war, the right to privacy, the right not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and more. Conservatives who once thought Americans had too little freedom now sometimes think they have too much.
It would have been nice if the party of the liberal offered us liberty and the party of small government offered us individuality. Why is freedom no longer a campaign issue?