Column on Thanking Mr. Obama?

Thanking Mr. Obama?

Tibor R. Machan

Sometimes even my best friends think I am over the top, as when I claim that the Obama Administration is out and out reactionary. How could that be so with a group of people who proudly call themselves progressive? Surely I am engaging in hyperbole. Surely this has to be pure polemics.

Now reactionary means taking public policy backward, to a time significantly different from ours, to a time when principles were deployed that oppose the ones on which the country was founded. That’s being reactionary. So what would such principles be?

For one, they would involve treating the government as the ruler of the realm, even as the owner of everything of value in the society, including the people. This is what kings did–they ruled and owned and sometimes carried out policies that benefited their subjects. In fact, the whole monarchical era had this narrative–only a monarchy can be the proper caretaker of the people. That is why it requires immense powers and resources, to the point where the people are deprived, disarmed, and subjugated so that the rulers can do their glorious job.

When President Obama recently admonished members of the Tea Party, urging that they show him gratitude, that they thank him, he demonstrated quite unambiguously his adherence to the doctrine of statism, one that includes monarchism, czarism, Caesarism, and all varieties of top down regimentation of human communities. I won’t discuss whether what President Obama supports for public policy amounts to lowering taxes, as he claims it does. Let me just focus on his claim that his lowering taxes is something for which he ought to be thanked?

Sorry, that isn’t how it goes in a free society. When the government uses extorted funds, the least it must do to remain somewhat professional is not to squander it, to remain within budget. To represent the citizenry properly, the government must not go over budget and must spend the least amount it can. This is its calling, to say the least!

If my dentist works hard to fix my teeth, I may say "thanks" as a kind of formality but, in fact, that’s my dentist’s job. That’s what I hired the dentist for and that is what he is being paid for. The "thank you" is but a possibly very sincere but merely polite gesture, no more. The same goes for any other professional who works for any client. Keeping within budget is elementary, Dr. Watson.

For the president of the United States of American to even mention that the citizenry ought to be grateful to him for not squandering their resources is gross! How dare he? Is he like a monarch who owns everything in the country and whenever anyone is gaining anything at all from some policy of his, it must be something he has done for them!

I am not even talking about the fact that ultimately, properly understood, taxation is a form of extortion. And when less than what could be is extorted from folks, they owe no one any thanks. That’s what should be the norm!

Instead our president seems to believe that doing his job–at least nearly properly by being frugal–is something for which he is owed special thanks! How dare he? Does he believe he is our king so that when he returns to us what he extorted from us, we must thank him? But it isn’t anything he gave us! Can’t he grasp this elementary fact of a relatively free country? He works for us and with as few expenses as possible. And when this is accomplished by him, no one needs to thank him. It’s his job, for crying out loud.

But it seems like President Obama considers it a favor to the citizenry to "save" them a few bucks, if indeed that is what he did, which frankly is widely doubted.

It is time for Americans to fully appreciate the meaning of the revolution that established their country: it amounted to the abolition of statism, the demotion of the king and all of his minions. They aren’t in charge anymore. They don’t rule! We do.

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