Obama’s Syria Address Another Example of Misunderstanding America’s Founding Values

President Obama discussed American exceptionalism during his Syria speech. But he knows nothing of America’s true exceptionalism and its role in preserving freedom.

In the closing lines of his address to the nation attempting to justify the use of military strikes against Syria, President Obama showed yet again how little he understands (or values) America’s founding principles, which are essential to freedom.

The president said this:

America is not the world’s policeman.  Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong.  But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.  That’s what makes America different.  That’s what makes us exceptional.  With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

Here we pause for just a moment to remind you–and the president, of his earlier remarks regarding “American exceptionalism.”

“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I expect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism; just as the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Which at its core meaning is to say, he does NOT believe in exceptionalism at all. If everyone is exceptional, then no one is. As the word suggests, “exceptional” refers to something being unusual or an “exception” to the rule.

Does the president truly believes in American exceptionalism? Or was he merely using it as the tagline for a 15-minute commercial attempting to swing wildly unpopular opinion for his desire to start another military conflict in the Middle East?

American exceptionalism is not to say that the US is the world’s policeman or is unusual because it has economic or military strength. It does not mean that Americans are “better” than Obama’s Brits or Greeks–or anyone else for that matter. It doesn’t mean America deserves a larger seat at the world’s table of decision makers because we think we are special.

The true meaning of American exceptionalism can be traced back to the founding of the country and the values and principles that were infused into the Constitution as written in 1787.  America was exceptional or an exception to the rule at that time because in an age of kings and queens and despotic rulers, a country was founded where rule would be by the consent of the governed not by a “divine right of kings” or a “mandate from heaven” claimed by despots.

At a time in the world’s history of serfs and subjects, existing by the grace and mercy of a liege lord or a sovereign, the American Declaration of Independence boldy declared that “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Put another way, rights were recognized as existing in nature, as blessings from a Creator, not as privileges that are granted by a government. In America the government’s purpose is to secure these rights, not to grant them in exchange for political favors.

The US Constitution limits government’s power–establishing the principle of governing by consent of the people or the idea that Americans are citizens, not subjects. But this principle is lost on one such as Barack Obama. He views the US Constitution not as promoting freedom and individual liberty. No, to him, the Constitution is like “a charter of negative liberties” because it only states what the government cannot do to its citizens; it does not charge the government to take actions (such as redistributing wealth) on  behalf of citizens.

Imagine the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights that you hold dear, whatever they may be (or all of them). Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to keep and bear arms in one’s own defense, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, right to a jury trial, freedom from testifying against yourself, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment (partial list). To Barack Obama these things are “negative liberties.” They do not grant the government the power to do what it wants, these rights only provide people guarantees of freedom from government action.

Thus, to Obama, and those that think the way he does, the Constitution is not a great document. It is not great because it tells the government it cannot infringe on people’s rights. The Constitution is flawed because it does not empower the government to act on the behalf of some, at the expense of others. Examples of what progressive statists have in mind of what the government should be empowered to do are similar to the “rights” that the Soviet constitution offered its subjects–or the rights that FDR attempted to propose in a “Second Bill of Rights” in the 1940s, such as a right to employment, a right to a living wage, healthcare, housing, education and social security–even food, clothing, and recreation.

But Liberty is:  the quality or state of being free (thank you Merriam-Webster):

a :  the power to do as one pleases
b :  freedom from physical restraint
c :  freedom from arbitrary or despotic control
d :  the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
e :  the power of choice

Because to give the kinds of things to people that progressive statists want, the government needs more power, not less. They need the power to tell you what to eat; what to put in your car–if you even get to have one; power to decide if you will receive medical treatment, or the power to kill you if it deems you are too expensive and too useless to keep around. They need power to tell you where you can live, how big of a house is too much, when you’ve made too much money, how much electricity you will be allowed to consume, and so on.

But these are not liberties according to the common sense definition above. Freedom and liberty exist when people are not told what to do–this is the exact opposite. To Barack Obama, the obvious definition of freedom and liberty doesn’t come about by limiting the government’s power over its people. To him those are “negative liberties” (even though they apply only to the government). To Barack Obama, liberty only exists when the government has the power to grant its citizens the material things that will seem to bring them happiness. And while some may claim this fits into definition “d” above, that is not true. The things that the government grants must be produced by or paid for by someone. The arbitrary seizure of property in order to redistribute it to someone else fits clearly into a definition of “arbitrary or despotic control.”

The meaning of actual freedom–that is the real world definition and not that of a learned constitutional scholar–matches the idea present at America’s birth: that freedom exists in nature and it is government’s job to secure it for their people. Barack Obama’s interpretation is more in line with the vision that governments must take more power in order to grant rights to their people. But this idea, despite being forwarded by self-proclaimed “progressives” as they like to call themselves, is quite regressive. It diverts us back to the world from which America emerged as an exceptional nation–a world where citizens are subjects rather than the masters of their own destiny that they can be in a free society.

Barack Obama does not identify with the values that were forged into the American constitution. These are the ideas that allowed individual freedom to take hold and propel the country to its present stature. These ideas and values are foreign to him. Leaving us to ask, if Barack Obama knows nothing of the true exceptionalism from whence America came, how can he claim the moral authority to lead its government?

Gun Crime Down; Democrats Stubbornly Promise Renewed Assault on Gun Freedoms

Despite gun crime decrease of 49 percent; Obama, Reid promise further gun control actions.

Freedom Forge Press

Do you remember Chris Rock’s well thought out reasoning for supporting President Obama’s push for tighter controls on the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners? Let’s rewind the tape for you!

Thank you, Chris, for that thoughtful and well-reasoned justification for why law abiding citizens should surrender their Second Amendment freedom. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

A Pew Research Center report released yesterday detailed a 49 percent decrease in gun-related crimes in the United States since 1993. The trend line shows a decline from 1993 to 2001, a leveling off, then resumed a downward movement in 2007. Interestingly, the same report shows the public is woefully uninformed about the trend. A public opinion poll showed 56 percent of respondents thought gun crime was up from 20 years ago. Twelve percent correctly identified the trend as lower; the rest, sadly didn’t know.
These results are interesting to note along side a recent Gallup poll. The poll asked what issues are most important to the public. Gun control came in at a respectable…4 percent, well behind the economy and unemployment (which really represent the same issue, no?), dissatisfaction with the government, and government spending. None of these items seem to draw much attention or interest from the Obama Administration.
Yet assaulting the freedom of lawful gun owners continues to be a fascination of the president and Congressional Democrats. Following the Senate pulling gun control bill, the president’s official Twitter account had the below message:
It probably doesn’t help that the “90 percent” figure is pure fantasy. The Gallup poll above shows the number is about 4%. And reality tells us that gun-related crime is on a downward trend without further government “help.” But as if taking his cue from the president, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly stated on April 26 that gun control will “definitely” be back again this year.
Returning to Chris Rock’s comments above, that gun owners and the country should listen to the president because he is “our boss” and like our “dad of the country.” And when your dad says something, “you listen…when you don’t it usually bites you in the ass later on.”
Well Chris, and those who shared the “Demand a Plan” platform with you, nodding and laughing with you, we see it differently. We’d like to introduce you to a group of people known as the Founding Fathers. You can think of them also as founding “daddies” or “daddies of the country” if that helps. They wrote things like, “no free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms,” and “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
See these “daddies” of the country lived in another time when their government was attempting to take away basic freedoms too. Based on their experience with this tyranny, they put checks and balances on government power in place, like the Bill of Rights, to safeguard against future government mischief.
We’d like to see our current president and virtually all Members of Congress–from BOTH parties–get reacquainted with our founding fathers/daddies and relearn the principles of limited government that are illustrated in the Constitution that they have taken an oath to protect and defend.

Obama Hears, Addresses “Voices” of Opposition

While speaking at a commencement ceremony in Ohio, President Obama stated that college graduate and young people should disregard any “voices” that constantly warn against government tyranny.

“The voices”, according to the president, say that government is a source of tyranny and bad things. That “tyranny lurks just around the corner.”  The president urges his audience to reject these “voices,” because accepting that tyranny is possible means that our experiment in self rule is just a sham and that people can’t be trusted.

The the president expresses in this speech illustrates his utter ignorance of America’s founding and the very points of federalism, divided government, checks and balances on power, and the concept of natural rights–those given to men and women because we are born, not because some government grants them to us.

In Federalist No. 51, James Madison writes, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But men are not angels. In this line, he acknowledges that some government is necessary. But he goes on to write, “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”  But angels do not govern the affairs of men, nor are they working in modern government. Thus government power must be controlled.

The president implies that those who fear government tyranny and speak their concerns seek only to “gum up the works” to getting things like gun control, government healthcare, and other legislative agenda items pushed through Congress.

Perhaps the president fails to recognize what tyranny is, we are glad to help him out.

Source: Dictionary.com

Government (at all levels, not just federal) has engaged in a variety of oppressive behavior in the last few years. Examples abound such as banning the sale of sodas of an arbitrary size, banning legal gun owners from having or purchasing guns with more than 7, 10, or more bullets in an ammunition magazine. The government enacted a mono-partisan take over of healthcare, passing a law of approximately 2,000 pages with so many fill in the blanks for the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the federal bureaucracy that the current count of regulations issued to fill in the legislative blanks stands at nearly 20,000 pages, a tower of paper more than 7 feet tall. The president has, despite taking an oath to the contrary, arbitrarily selected what federal laws he will enforce and which he will not.

The president signed a law authorizing the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial and without right of judicial review. His Department of Homeland Security has amassed more deadly hollow point ammunition at a rate faster than used by the US military in conducting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. His Department of Justice is involved in an illegal gun running scandal that resulted in Mexican drug cartels obtaining weapons which were used to murder a US ATF agent and Mexican citizens. Instead of submitting to Congressional oversight, the White House asserted executive privilege to avoid having to answer for its bad acts.

Finally, the US government has recently involved itself in a number of warrant-less, paramilitary raids on American businesses for trumped up charges (The Gibson Guitar factory raid is just one of several examples). While no actual wrongdoing is found, the government refuses to file charges, return seized property, or allow a judicial hearing on the actions that took place.

The examples above do not inspire confidence that government is a merely a benevolent, nurturing force for good. Despite the president’s urging to the contrary, government and the intention of individuals running it are not always noble or pure. And that is why the entire framework of setting up the federal government is one that restricts its powers. The federal government is granted power by the Constitution via enumerated powers–those specifically given to it. Those powers not granted are reserved to the states or to the people. No matter what politicians benevolently promise, that’s how the system should remain.

Political Coercion in the Windy City

Several sources are reporting that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel penned a letter to the CEOs of Bank of America and TD Bank. The letter encourages the banks to stop providing banking services to gun manufacturers unless they begin supporting government gun control measures.

Where do we begin?

First, guns are constitutionally protected. So for an elected official, a mayor of one of America’s major cities, to be engaging in this behavior goes beyond the pale. A reasonable question is why would Emanuel want the banks to stop providing services only if manufacturers refuse to support government gun control proposals? Why not just encourage the banks to shut off services to gun manufacturers until they stop production and sale of weapons to any entity other than government agencies?

We’ll tell you why. Because the mayor knows that what he’s doing is wrong. Guns are legal to manufacture and sell to individuals, and the process already requires a background check to search for previous violent criminal behavior that would disqualify a person from owning a gun. But he knows that as a constitutionally protected right, he can’t stop the manufacture and sale of weapons to individuals. At least, not without getting individuals to willingly give up their rights. Rather than expend political capital on seeking a gun ban, Emanuel employs a Machiavellian strategy of trying to get the banks to willingly apply pressure to coerce gun manufacturers to stop selling their products (legally!) to civilians.

Why Emanuel? Why Chicago’s mayor? As it turns out, Illinois (not Chicago) has four gun manufacturers based within the state borders: ArmaLite, Lewis Machine and Tool of Milan, Rock River Arms of Colona, and Springfield Armory of Geneseo.

We assume Emanuel, like most other politicians, has an agenda of securing a political future rather than actually fixing problems. Let’s assume the banks give in and gun manufacturers are brought to their knees and agree to stop selling their products to civilians. This would play well in a variety of political theaters: an Illinois governorship, a senatorial campaign, perhaps even a White House run in 2016 (note other politicians with presidential aspirations include the governors of Maryland and New York, both of whom recently launched anti-gun rhetoric at a screech-level decibel).

But voluntarily giving the government what it wants is far easier than passing a law, or, worse yet, the government taking what it wants by force.

Assuming Emanuel were successful in his bid to politically terrorize gun manufacturers, and assuming other banks didn’t fill the void (perhaps not wanting to become political targets themselves), it would be easier to achieve a goal of making weapons unavailable to the public.

It would also be easier if gun manufacturers willingly adopted “gun control” by not making their products available to non-government customers.

And it would be far easier to get people to accept government “gun control” on their own and voluntarily turn in their weapons rather than deal with such pesky things as constitutional rights and trying to amend the Constitution.

We hope Bank of America and TD Bank’s answer is a resounding, “NO!” Attempting to coerce private banks to kiss the mayor’s ring and implement “gun control” via back door and under-the-table tactics is disgraceful. Chicago’s mayor has disgraced himself and the city he represents. But he’ll likely not be held accountable for such behavior.

We hope gun manufacturers understand the role they play in the private lives of citizens. They provide a tool that is used in sports, hunting, and most importantly, self-defense. It is legal. It is constitutionally protected. And if the mayor should come calling hoping that they will willingly stop selling a legal product to a law-abiding public, we hope that answer is also a resounding, “NO!”

And lastly, if the mayor should come to law-abiding citizens, asking them to turn in their lawfully purchased and owned weapons, we hope the answer they give is a clear and resounding, “NO!”

It’s far easier for the government to take away its citizens’ freedoms with a willing and cooperative public. But the time has come when We the People must put our foot down and say, “NO!”

No, you can’t take away our freedom and our rights.

No, you can’t coerce us to give them up willingly.

No, you cannot come to the back door attempting to sell what you would dare not sell at the front door.