The President, on Friday, said this. “The whole purpose of development is to create the conditions where assistance is no longer needed; where people have the dignity and the pride of being self sufficient”.
The unfortunate context of the President’s comments is that he was speaking of African agricultural aid. America was not; repeat not, the object of such a Conservative idea. If only.
Mr. Obama’s people produced the ‘life of Julia’ video to elevate the role of government assistance as indispensible; a path not to self sufficiency but to growing, ongoing, lifelong dependency. One may opine in a cynical moment, that the path is itself, cynical; nothing more than a means to a demographically driven electoral majority based on levels of progressive dependency on government. Whatever may be in the President’s mind related to domestic policy, it is not a path to “dignity and the pride of being self sufficient”; that Presidential idea is limited to Africa.
These two ideas are offered by the President with equal degrees of conviction and eloquence; they are, however, in total opposition to each other. We have a body of evidence, our history, proving that individuals met with freedom of choice and opportunity, tend to do great things. They also to do quietly heroic things: raising families, taking care of neighbors, doing whatever must be done to sustain themselves, working multiple jobs; giving of self for family and community. It’s not in the news but Americans do heroic, generous, selfless things every day, it’s in our DNA. That DNA grew out of struggle and challenge, not dependency. It grows out of the sense that there is something bigger than ourselves worthy of loyalty and commitment. Our history, if it is about anything, is about overcoming obstacles.
The President, a supposed fan of Abraham Lincoln, would be well advised to revisit the core set of beliefs that Mr. Lincoln so eloquently represented. “You cannot help the poor b destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”