What if the Recession Doesn’t End?

A DrHurd.com reader comments:

Obama makes clear that he has no concept of individual rights. To say that “foremost among [our rights] is freedom of religion” puts religious freedom above life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which are all rights to physical ACTION. He’s fine with us having individual beliefs or thoughts, as long as our every action is controlled by limitless government regulation. Where does he show real respect for freedom?

Actually, a leader with no respect for freedom in action will eventually show no respect for freedom in thought.

Even with a second term, Obama might not have the opportunity to try free speech restrictions. But eventually, this is where statism in general and leftism (the dominant form of statism today) in particular must take us.

When a government stops you from acting to rationally advance your life, it’s violating the most basic of individual rights, so long as the action you’re seeking does not involve initiating force or fraud against another. We all know that stopping force and fraud isn’t most of what government does any longer. In fact, government spends more time trying to force people to spend their money a certain way, or not spend their money in other ways, than it does trying to prosecute and punish violent offenders.

This all has the effect of hampering economic activity and growth. It has led to one of the greatest recessions in the country’s history. Depending on which economist you talk to, the current recession/depression has been going on for 5 years now, and counting. Most Americans, according to polls, feel the recession never ended. When Obamacare takes full effect, and taxes across the board go up massively next January, who knows what the economic impact will be. It will not be good, that’s for sure.

As this recession and generally bad state of affairs continues to drag on, as it certainly will if Obama stays in office and may even do so if Romney wins, unrest and discontentment in society will grow. There’s no getting around it. We’ll see more riots, more social problems of different kinds. People will fight (and even shoot) over things like Chick-fil-A rather than the real issues. This will provide the government in office with incentive to rationalize restrictions on thought and free speech. Who knows what kind of clever Orwellian rationalization they’ll come up with, to make it sound like a restriction on thought or free speech is something other than what it is.

My point is that it’s inevitable—on our current course. You cannot impede a society’s economic growth and prosperity, especially when economic growth has been the norm for that culture (i.e., in America) from its beginning. Most of the world, even western Europe to some extent, is pretty familiar with permanent economic stagnation and decline. Americans are not, and they’re not going to handle it well.

A leftist government, in particular, cannot and will not admit its mistakes. This recession continues under the Obama Administration’s watch. Obama has no reply, other than hostility and hatred of dissenters. This is why Obama and Biden are calling their opponents ‘terrorists’ (as Joe Biden called the Tea Party) and Obama’s reelection campaign, acting under a separate political group, has labeled Mitt Romney a ‘murderer.’

These tactics are designed to intimidate and plant fear in people’s minds. Notice that after a few days of these attacks, Obama backs down, speaks more softly and Joe Biden begins to have that ‘aw shucks’ look and sounds sheepish, prompting normally adversarial commentators on Fox News to say, ‘Well, he really IS a nice guy after all.’

It’s all manipulation.

Manipulation will only work on the fearful, and sadly a plurality of Americans (I suspect) live their daily lives almost totally consumed by fear. That’s why negative campaigns work, and why Romney collapsed in the polls after relentless weeks of it. (He is temporarily recovering after his selection of Paul Ryan for VP, but that could be short-lived.)

Because our leftist government cannot and will not admit its mistakes, sooner or later it will have to go further. As the economy continues NOT to grow, or as another economic meltdown happens—this time on their watch, let’s say in a second Obama term or maybe even later this year—they’re not going to know what to do. But they’re going to have to do something.

Margaret Thatcher famously made the comment about socialists and leftists eventually running out of other people’s money. The same can be said about government control in general. There’s only so much the federal government can do to the economy. There’s only so much wealth they can redistribute, only so many businesses they can regulate or subsidize, or jobs they can kill via business-hampering institutions such as the EPA or Obamacare. They can blame the opposition party only so long, especially if they keep winning more elections than they lose.

At some point, the leftist Establishment is going to have to work on shutting people up.

This is really one of the best reasons for voting Mitt Romney into office, as ineffectual as he will likely be. By weakening the federal government through frequent transitions of power, it delays the inevitable. It keeps these idiots fighting with each other, rather than shutting down freedom even more than they already have.

Normally I would not advocate a policy of delaying the inevitable. But as long as a majority of Americans remain asleep and in denial about the only things that can solve our problems—way lower taxes, way fewer regulations, major steps towards privatization of health care, way less government and way, way more laissez-faire capitalism—delay of dictatorship is the best we can hope for.

In the absence of any intellectual or political trend towards a freer economy, the most we can do is make it harder for our central government to attempt to restrict our freedom of thought and speech. I guarantee you’ll see at least some small steps in that direction if Obama gets a second term, particularly if he gets back full control of Congress part of the time.

The only way to save freedom of thought and speech is to reverse course on the economy, i.e. to allow the economy to prosper and grow again, as never before. It definitely won’t happen if Obama remains in office.


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