Come and Take It

"You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas."

The Infantilization of America

Chris Rock claims the president is “our boss.” Mr. Rock seems blissfully unaware that the United States is a representative republic in which, by definition, the president is nothing more than a public servant. Let me reiterate for Mr. Rock, who seems so woefully unfamiliar with the concept: President Obama is not our boss; he is our servant.

Mr. Rock submits that president is Obama is, like, the “dad of the country.” No, Mr. Rock, president Obama is not your daddy. Nor is he mine. Only two forms of government revere the head of government as a father: totalitarian fascism, and totalitarian communism. Mr. Rock, if you let president Obama be your daddy, it will only be a matter of time before he makes himself your führer.

Here’s what happens when the head of government is your daddy:

Image of a Hitler Youth poster

Youth serve the Führer

Observe closely – the cute little Aryan girl’s eyes shine almost as brightly for Hitler as Mr. Rock’s eyes shine for Obama. She is just ever so happy that Hitler is her “boss” and her “dad.” Gentle reader, do you suppose we should all be as eager to have Obama as our “boss” and “dad”?

The really sad thing about such shenanigans is that Chris Rock really ought to know better. It’s not like he was born to a single, unwed mother in the hood. His mom wasn’t a welfare queen (she was a teacher), and his dad was actually present and accounted for during his childhood. Nonetheless, Mr. Rock displays the type of politically arrested development that is so typical of the culture of dependency in this country.

By this point in the War on Poverty, it ought to be obvious to just about everybody that welfare entitlements are not producing the desired result. Urban poverty is endemic and inter-generational, and the family unit continues to degrade in this population segment. Welfare, rather than curing poverty, appears to exacerbate it.

The underlying cause of this abject failure is actually pretty simple: under our current welfare policies and tax laws, if you’re poor, it pays to stay poor. As Arthur Laffer recently pointed out in his Wall Street Journal editorial, Work Disincentives, Still Crazy After All These Years, an unemployed mother of two in Pennsylvania is entitled to ~$45,000 per year in various welfare benefits. Were she so foolish as to work (and see her welfare subsidies dialed back), she would face the equivalent of a 67% marginal income tax on income between $14,000 and $29,000, and a 100% marginal income tax on income from $29,000 to $69,000. At a gross income of $69K, her take home income is only $57K, a mere $12K above what she gets for doing absolutely nothing. As Art Laffer so pithily put it, “… if that doesn’t motivate you to get up and go to work, I don’t know what will.”

Needless to say, our hypothetical Pennsylvania welfare mom is more than happy for Obama to be both her “boss” and her “dad.” Basically, the federal government pays her to not grow up. It makes more sense for her to remain dependent on government for all her needs than it does for her to become an independent, fully functional, economically independent and self reliant adult. She is a victim of forced infantilization. She is, even more than Chris Rock, the ideal Obama voter.

John Tomasi, in Free Market Fairness, suggests,

“When we are free, we are aware of ourselves as central causes of the lives we lead… Many ordinary people— middle-class parents, single moms, entry-level workers— become who they are, and express who they hope to be, by the personal choices they make regarding work, saving, and spending. These are areas in which people earn esteem from others and feel a proper pride for things they themselves do. In economic affairs… it is not merely the outcome that matters: the process must be considered too. Diminishing personal agency in economic affairs— no matter how lofty the social goal— drains vital blood from a person’s life.”

In other words, we are happiest when we are free to be the authors of our own lives, and first freedom required to achieve this end is economic freedom. Ronald Reagan deeply believed in this ideal, and on the eve of July 4, 1987, delivered his famous speech on an economic bill of rights:

“There are four essential economic freedoms. They are what links life inseparably to liberty, what enables an individual to control his own destiny, what makes self-government and personal independence part of the American experience…

“First is the freedom to work — to pursue one’s livelihood in one’s own way, to choose where one will locate and what one will do to sustain individual and family needs and desires…

“Second of those freedoms is the freedom to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor — to keep for oneself and one’s family the profit or gain earned by honest effort.

“Third is the freedom to own and control one’s property — to trade or exchange it and not to have it taken through threat or coercion.

“Fourth is the freedom to participate in a free market — to contract freely for goods and services and to achieve one’s full potential without government limits on opportunity, economic independence, and growth.”

Such concepts are, of course, utterly foreign to our hypothetical Pennsylvania welfare mom. They simply do not apply to an infantilized adult.

My fellow citizens, and Mr. Rock, our choice is both simple and stark. We can choose to be infantalized adults, dependent on government for all our earthly needs, with Obama as our boss and dad, OR we can be fully realized, independent, free, self reliant adults; the authors of our own lives, and the captains of our own fates. Which do you prefer? Choose well, friend, for the moment of choice is upon you.

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