Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama's Bitter Comments

The latest case of political "foot-in-mouth" disease came again from the Obama campaign. He expressed an analysis to some supporters in California that the reason working class white folk support things like gun rights, religion, control of immigration and limits on free trade is that they are frustrated about the economy. Oh yeah, and not enough income also turns you into a bigot.

This is actually a widely held view among liberals. They really don't understand the passion on the part of people who disagree with them on such issues. The theory is that if you just give people enough money, and/or security, they'll abandon their association with these other issues.

The reality is, for most folks, it's not about the money. The economy is of course an important issue in and of itself, but people aren't going to give up their individual rights or the nation's sovereignty in exchange for more government hand-outs, and you don't turn a bigot into a reasonable human being by handing him or her a few bucks or getting them a better job.

The irony is that the key to a vibrant economy is individual freedom. The energy and innovation that leads to an expanding economy comes from free individuals, freely associating in a free market. The idea that a care-taker government can stifle opposition with cash or goodies is not going to lead us to prosperity. More likely, it would lead us toward the "comfortable state of mediocrity" that is Europe.

Dissent and disagreement are not problems in America, they are our strength. We have devised a system and a culture that allows diametrically opposed viewpoints to exist in the same place at the same time. This is done by agreeing on "rules of engagement" that are limited to protecting each individuals legitimate rights. We don't have to agree on everything. We just have to agree on how we're going to disagree.

Obama's revelation of how he views the "common man" is not going to hurt him with the left. I think most of them concur. Why else would you disagree with nationalized health care? It must be the economy. In the general election it will become more evident that neither the desire for individual rights nor the causes of racism are rooted in the job market; that not all of those who demand individual liberty are also religious, protectionist or bigoted and that the pool of gun toting, religious, anti-immigration, protectionist bigots looking for a savior is really not very big.

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