Prime minister David Cameron has revealed US president Barack Obama envies the UK’s blanket ban of political advertising on TV.
During a livestreamed interview with BuzzFeed, the prime minister was asked why British parties aren’t allowed to advertise on TV.
“Oh…the times President Obama has said to me you don’t know how lucky you are not having TV advertising,” responded Cameron. [reported at BuzzFeed.com, thedrum.com and also Twitter.com]
I can’t authenticate the truth of Obama’s private remarks to Cameron. But I can make the case that they’re entirely plausible, both logically and psychologically, given Obama’s view of human nature, ethics and the proper social system (in his view) under which human beings should be compelled to live.
Of course Obama has fascist, totalitarian tendencies and principles. Anybody paying attention knows that. Even Obama’s supporters know it; they simply do not care, because they like the ideas and policies Obama seeks to impose by force.
The important thing to understand about this? Hostility to free speech is a logical and inevitable consequence of the entitlement state that both major parties, and most Americans, continue to support.
If it’s necessary to provide social insurance programs and protect the health and well-being of everyone, then it’s necessary to shut down dissension. Otherwise, how is the government to get on with the business of doing what it’s supposed to do?
The socialistic entitlement state — which started in the U.S. before Obama, but which Obama has reinforced and expanded — requires a nation to be one gigantic hospital. Or child care center, only for adults. Such hospitals and centers, by definition, must have rules. The same applies to a country, even if its First Amendment stubbornly gets in the way of that central mission of being a gigantic hospital.
The government of an authentically free country, with no welfare, entitlement or regulatory state, would not be concerned with — or annoyed by –freedom of speech. The only purpose of such a government would be to enforce voluntary contracts, prosecute and punish violent or fraudulent criminals, and protect us from (objectively real) foreign threats. While government and private citizens or entities would sometimes bump heads, and even have to go to court, over seeming conflicts between freedom of speech and the ability of the government to find and punish violent or fraudulent criminals, there would be nothing about freedom of speech, in principle, that would threaten the government.
In a communistic or fascist-like state, including the “transformed” America Obama brought us via increased social spending, significantly increased regulation and taxation, and government oversight of nearly every human activity, the government needs private dissension out of the way — as much as possible. Why? It’s simply not practical for government to micromanage every aspect of our daily lives and have no say in what we read, think, or express publicly.
From the voting citizens’ point-of-view, this means you cannot have it both ways. You cannot, on the one hand, expect government to be your mommy or daddy or (to ease your conscience) a mommy and daddy for others, and then, at the same time, expect government to totally keep its hands off freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of the Internet. There is an inherent and inevitable conflict between the two, and the more you demand government to play Nanny or Big Daddy, then the more the government — by the very logic of your demands — must eventually clamp down on other freedoms. Case in point: The government’s present attempt to turn the Internet itself into the equivalent of a public utility, on the premise that all Internet transactions happen at the behest of government permission.
Expecting the government to have all or most of the responsibility for people’s physical, mental and economic well-being without controlling freedom of speech is equivalent to asking a parent to be responsible for a child’s material and economic well-being, without setting any rules or limits on what the child reads, how late the child stays out at night, and how much time the child spends (or what content he or she views) on the Internet. It’s just as ludicrous to expect a parent to have his or her hands tied in such a way as it is to expect government to proceed with the task of providing for all of our needs without the ability to dominate what we read, think, or intellectually or mentally take in.
In short, if you want the government to be mommy or daddy, you have to accept the whole package. Obama understands and accepts this more than most high-level political officials to date. He’s consistent. The day Americans must identify and face up to this contradiction is getting closer all the time.
With government’s role in the provision of medical care now nearly total, you have a major rationalization in place for this to happen. “The government already restricts advertising for cigarettes. Spending on Medicare and Medicaid is through the roof. The only way to control costs, and make citizens’ lives better in the process is to [fill in the blank here with the allegedly desirable restriction on behavior and/or speech.]” Obama supporters and Democrats take note: Republican religious conservatives, when and if they manage to gain power in the executive branch, will gladly impose their will, in their own way, based on their own ideological and social agendas.
It’s noteworthy that Obama, a professional politician, opposes political advertising (i.e., political speech) in particular. In fact, it’s interesting he calls it “advertising.” While there’s nothing rationally dishonorable about advertising (so long as it’s not false), the term does — in many people’s minds — have a negative or phony connotation. The unspoken idea and premise here is that, “Since advertising is bad, political advertising is the worst of all.” It counts on you to detest politicians on principle (which probably most people do), while implicitly embracing the politicians like Obama who seek to outlaw or more heavily restrict political advertising. Whose political advertising? Well, certainly not the kind that advances Obama’s policies. In truth, it’s only certain kinds of advertising that can be restrained under such rules, just like when freedom of speech is outlawed it’s only certain speech that ends up forbidden.
While it’s true that little or none of the “political advertising” offered by any major political party today is of any tangible merit or substance, this does not change the principle involved. The principle is that one is allowed to speak one’s mind, and express one’s ideas (even the phony or meaningless ideas offered by most Republicans and Democrats today), with one’s own money on one’s own privately owned property, or the private property of another with their willing consent. “Private property” in this context includes printing presses, television broadcasts, radio waves and Internet transmissions — which is one crucial reason why these entities cannot and never should be publicly owned “utilities.”
When Obama complains to David Cameron or others that he hates political advertising, it’s really the free expression of ideas that he’s attacking. He’s convinced his ideas are right and better. There will always be those who object to his policies of socialism, and there will always be reams of facts, historical precedents and philosophical dissension to counter both the morality and efficacy of that socialism (or progressivsim, or whatever they wish to call it). This is inconvenient and annoying for those who seek to shape and force the world into their notion of the ideal image.
Unfortunately for those (in both major parties) who seek to continue on the path of government entitlements, regulations, transfers of wealth and legalized handouts, while somehow reconciling it all with freedom of speech, Obama’s attitude as expressed to David Cameron will eventually carry the day. It has to do so. Unless we completely reverse course and get the government out of the entitlement and regulation-of-daily-life business.
If you want to ensure a future filled with freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom to dissent, then you had better get on the bandwagon for a restoration of economic freedom and liberty now. Because there will not be one without the other. That illusion is perishing from its own contradictions. Obama knows this, and he’s not the only one in line to aggressively act on it.
Note: For those interested, here’s the David Cameron BuzzFeed interview in context. His reference to Obama’s dislike of political advertising is at about 30:00 min. into the interveiw.
Warning: This is one of the most vapid, torpid and inauthentic question and answer sessions about absolutely, positively NOTHING that I have ever seen. Great Britain is in even more trouble than America, with what passes for leadership there. Where is Margaret Thatcher when you need her?
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