By Thomas Sowell
Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many “czars” appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?
Did you think that another “czar” would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers — that is, to create a situation where some newspapers’ survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?
Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called “experts” deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?
Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?
Does any of this sound like America?
How about a federal agency giving school children material to enlist them on the side of the president? Merely being assigned to sing his praises in class is apparently not enough.
How much of America would be left if the federal government continued on this path? President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries.
We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.
How far the President will go depends of course on how much resistance he meets. But the direction in which he is trying to go tells us more than all his rhetoric or media spin.
Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to “change the United States of America,” the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country.
Jeremiah Wright said it with words: “G0d damn America!” Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.
Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.
Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn’t know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?
Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government — people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America’s influence in the world.
Any miscalculation on his part would be in not thinking that others would discover what these stealth appointees were like. Had it not been for the Fox News Channel, these stealth appointees might have remained unexposed for what they are. Fox News is now high on the administration’s enemies list.
Nothing so epitomizes President Obama’s own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year — each bill more than a thousand pages long — too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question — and the biggest question for this generation.
Many years ago, at a certain academic institution, there was an experimental program that the faculty had to vote on as to whether or not it should be made permanent.
I rose at the faculty meeting to say that I knew practically nothing about whether the program was good or bad, and that the information that had been supplied to us was too vague for us to have any basis for voting, one way or the other. My suggestion was that we get more concrete information before having a vote.
The director of that program rose immediately and responded indignantly and sarcastically to what I had just said — and the faculty gave him a standing ovation.
After the faculty meeting was over, I told a colleague that I was stunned and baffled by the faculty’s fierce response to my simply saying that we needed more information before voting.
“Tom, you don’t understand,” he said. “Those people need to believe in that man. They have invested so much hope and trust in him that they cannot let you stir up any doubts.”
Years later, and hundreds of miles away, I learned that my worst misgivings about that program did not begin to approach the reality, which included organized criminal activity.
The memory of that long-ago episode has come back more than once while observing both the actions of the Obama administration and the fierce reactions of its supporters to any questioning or criticism.
Almost never do these reactions include factual or logical arguments against the administration’s critics. Instead, there is indignation, accusations of bad faith and even charges of racism.
Here too, it seems as if so many people have invested so much hope and trust in Barack Obama that it is intolerable that anyone should come along and stir up any doubts that could threaten their house of cards.
Among the most pathetic letters and e-mails I receive are those from people who ask why I don’t write more “positively” about Obama or “give him the benefit of the doubt.”
No one — not even the President of the United States — has an entitlement to a “positive” response to his actions. The entitlement mentality has eroded the once common belief that you earned things, including respect, instead of being given them.
As for the benefit of the doubt, no one — especially not the President of the United States — is entitled to that, when his actions can jeopardize the rights of 300 million Americans domestically and the security of the nation in an international jungle, where nuclear weapons may soon be in the hands of people with suicidal fanaticism. Will it take a mushroom cloud over an American city to make that clear? Was 9/11 not enough?
When a President of the United States has begun the process of dismantling America from within, and exposing us to dangerous enemies outside, the time is long past for being concerned about his public image. He has his own press agents for that.
Internationally, Barack Obama has made every mistake that was made by the Western democracies in the 1930s, mistakes that put Hitler in a position to start World War II — and come dangerously close to winning it.
At the heart of those mistakes was trying to mollify your enemies by throwing your friends to the wolves. The Obama administration has already done that by reneging on this country’s commitment to put a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe and by its lackadaisical foot-dragging on doing anything serious to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That means, for all practical purposes, throwing Israel to the wolves as well.
Countries around the world that have to look out for their own national survival, above all, are not going to ignore how much Obama has downgraded the reliability of America’s commitments.
Iraq, for example, knows that Iran is going to be next door forever while Americans may be gone in a few years. South Korea likewise knows that North Korea is permanently next door but who knows when the Obama administration will get a bright idea to pull out? Countries in South America know that Hugo Chavez is allying Venezuela with Iran. Dare they ally themselves with an unreliable U.S.A.? Or should they join our enemies to work against us?