Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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31 August 2008

Obama's Call to Service

I just read a speech given by Obama on 2 July 2008 in which he makes it very clear that he believes it is more honorable to serve others than to seek the fulfillment of one's own goals. He calls on Americans, especially young Americans, to serve in many ways which seems fundamentally designed to teach and train them to become the servants of the state. Make no mistake, Obama loves the old socialist dream of mobilizing the people to respond to a cause which is larger than themselves. This appeals to many people, but substituting a larger cause for ourselves has always led to the excesses of the socialist state. It recalls Lenin and Stalin in the USSR, Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, Castro in Cuba, Mao in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and Hugo Chazez in Venezuela. This is a road we should be very careful not to go down.

He insists that we must serve a common purpose. No, there is no reason why we must serve a common purpose. We are free to pursue our own values, goals, and dreams. America has always prospered and been innovative and motivated by this individuality. Our government was designed to facilitate a society in which individuals could work voluntarily for such goals as a number of people had, but just as importantly, others with different goals were not required to contribute. In Obama's scheme of things, we are all obliged to find many goals we hold in common with all other Americans and then we must contribute to achieving those goals. Of course, he as president will determine what the many goals are and then he will require us all to contribute in the name of a higher purpose.

Fundamentally, Obama just does not get it. He says we "are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans." Somehow, from this he thinks it follows that we are obliged to see to it that everyone has a wonderful life and is happy. Well no, this is an impossible burden to put on everyone. It is not even possible for a person concentrating fully on their own life to always manage to have a wonderful life full of happiness. If we tell everyone that they should focus less on that and more on trying to make all other American lives wonderful and full of happiness, American lives will be less wonderful and much sadder. This is what has always happened in the socialist countries that pursued this course far down its road. This is in no way surprising - I cannot understand your life, values, and causes for happiness as well as I can understand my own.

Among other causes, we are called to reduce our energy dependence upon sources in other countries and to prevent climate change. We are warned that "our American Dream risks slipping away." Obama says, "I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am President of the United States."

Surprisingly, he will ask more people to serve in the armed forces. He will expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 200,000 with added slots for providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world. He will start an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects. He will double the size of the Peace Corps. He will expand USA Freedom Corps to create an online network where Americans can browse opportunities to volunteer. He will fund R&D for nonprofits. He will start a Social Investment Fund Network.

He will integrate service into education, presumably the way Maryland does this. Students are not allowed to graduate until they have many hours of public service work acceptable to the state. This will not be voluntary in his case either, because he will not give federal money to schools unless they participate, which means the schools will force students to participate so they can get as much money as possible. This is a clear trampling of the rights of the individual to pursue their own happiness.

The Energy Corps will provide jobs for the nearly 2 million young Americans who are out of school and out of work. If they do not want to be in school, it is not clear they will want to be in the Energy Corps, but he has no concerns about this. He could allow many of them to find work if he removed the minimum wage rate laws, but he will not do that, since he loves that law. No, he wants them out of work so he can mobilize them for a socialist cause. He will put these disadvantaged young people to cleaning polluted areas, weatherizing homes, and gaining skills in a growing industry. I suppose the industry he has in mind is the Green Industry, supported by federal tax credits and subsidies and somehow able to achieve energy independence in 10 years. He will also expand the YouthBuild Program putting young Americans to building affordable housing in America's poorest communities, but he will not end local government building restrictions that make housing more expensive.

He says students want to end the genocide in Darfur (as soldiers?), farmers want to free us from the tyranny of oil (by turning corn into ethanol?), the oceans must be kept from rising. Every task on his wish list will be tackled by young or old volunteers and solved. Many of them will have little in the way of skills, but they will solve intractable problems, such as overcoming the huge natural forces that cause the earth's climate to change! No, he stupidly thinks it is only CO2 emissions that cause that. With such a Manager-in-Chief, we can be sure none of this multitude of unfocused programs will accomplish anything useful. They will only delay the professional training of our young people in their career paths.

But, every American will be forced to pay for this plethora of programs in which those who know nothing will be directed to solve every conceivable problem by those who have no management experience and lack the discipline of having to make a profit or even having to live within a budget. But, what a grand and glorious army of mobilized youth to pursue every socialist dream of the last 100 years! And at the head of this marching army, Commander-in-Chief Obama will lead them with his piping into endless folly.


Miss Breeziness said...

"Somehow, from this he thinks it follows that we are obliged to see to it that everyone has a wonderful life and is happy. Well no, this is an impossible burden to put on everyone. It is not even possible for a person concentrating fully on their own life to always manage to have a wonderful life full of happiness."

Dead on. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Obama's speech kind of reminds me of the Communists in China trying to get young people to "serve the country" in the old days.

With one difference. Obama's guilt mongering is worse.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Yes, Miss Breeziness, he is very effective in playing on the guilt to many have for what they have created with their own hard work. The more you work and concentrate your effort, the more guilty you are supposed to feel. What an incredible inversion of morality this is! It would make so much more sense if those who create little were to feel guilty for underutilization of their human potential and for living off the fat of the land while contributing little.

Miss Breeziness said...

Actually, it's mostly the kids of those who have worked hard that feel guilty for it.

Kinda related - I wonder if you've ever seen the blog Stuff White People Like? It looks more like "stuff white privileged liberals like". Obama is one of those things.

And I have liberal friends who fit the description to a T...:)

Charles R. Anderson said...

Very often the hard-working children of hard-working parents who came to enjoy financial comfort, still soak up plenty of guilt from our socialist public schools and our universities.

I just read the piece "Appearing to Enjoy Classical Music" and it does fit many people to a "T". But, I actually do enjoy classical music, though unfortunately in a limited way. I am considerably challenged in learning and processing aural information. My mind works much better on visual and tactile information. In addition to this limitation, I am always doing something when listening to music, whether classical or otherwise, so I almost never give it the concentration it requires. Nonetheless, my mind loves the play of its rich complexity if only in the background, while it gets headaches and becomes depressed when bombarded with most of the music popular these last few decades. Classical music makes me feel better when I put it on in the evenings or early mornings in my laboratory.