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Clinton's fundamental distortion of freedom
Posted By Joseph Farah On 10/14/1997 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Bill Clinton lacks character. He has no principles. And he doesn’t believe in immutable standards of morality.
But what makes Bill Clinton the most dangerous president in the history of the United States is his fundamentally distorted view of freedom.
In 1994, the president addressed a group of young people on MTV’s “Enough Is Enough” program. His remarks there illustrate, perhaps better than any prepared speech he has ever given, how his worldview is totally at odds with that of the founders of the American republic — especially with regard to individual rights and personal freedom.
In answering a question about the subject of personal freedom, he pointed out that many “Asian societies” have low crime rates and high economic growth rates “because they have very coherent societies with strong units, where the unit is more important than the individual, whether it’s the family unit or the work unit or the community unit.”
Notice, he didn’t specifically mention “the state” as one of those units. But, if he is presumably thinking about China, here, as one of the models, the state is, of course, the all-important “unit” in Asia’s largest country and fastest-growing economy.
“My own view is that you can go to the extreme in either direction,” he continued. “And when we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly.”
Now, right off the bat, it’s important to point out that the founders did not believe they, nor the government, nor the Constitution was “giving” Americans anything. They believed that people had inalienable, God-given rights. It was the government’s job to protect those rights. They also made no assumption that all people would use their freedom responsibly. Instead, they believed that individuals who abused their rights by abridging the freedoms of others would be punished.
“That is, when we set up this country, abuse of people by government was a big problem,” he continued. “So if you read the Constitution, it’s rooted in the desire to limit the ability of government’s ability to mess with you, because that was a huge problem. It still can be a huge problem. But it assumed that people would basically be raised in coherent families, in coherent communities, and they would work for the common good, as well as for the individual welfare.”
Notice here that Clinton obviously believes that government intrusion into the lives of individuals was more of a problem — more of a threat — then than now.
“What’s happened in America today is, too many people live in areas where there’s no family structure, no community structure, and no work structure,” he said. “And so there’s a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there’s too much personal freedom.”
To be honest with you, I have never heard anyone — let alone “a lot of people” — say “there’s too much personal freedom.” Certainly there are unprecedented attacks on individual rights by government today. But, usually, these are cleverly disguised in far less candid terminology. Here, Clinton obviously let down his guard.
“When personal freedom’s being abused, you have to move to limit it,” Clinton added ominously.
Then he gave an example of how his administration was doing just that.
“That’s what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects, about how we’re going to have weapons sweeps and more things like that to try to make people feel safer in their communities,” he said.
Since 1994, the administration has taken many more steps to limit personal freedom — not just in communities at risk, but for all Americans. His goal, he reveals, is not even to make people safer, but to make them “feel” safer. This is the strategy of tyrants throughout history — to hope people will trade freedom for safety, for comfort, for an easier way of life.
“And that’s my answer to you,” Clinton concluded. “We can have — the more personal freedom a society has, the more personal responsibility a society needs, and the more strength you need out of your institutions — family, community and work.”
Of course, the one example of government action cited by Clinton — the gun sweeps — does nothing to strengthen the family, the community or work. It does, however, empower government. When you view through this prism the administration’s other major initiatives of the last five years — from government health-care to environmental regulation to his anti-smoking crusade — his chilling, anti-freedom agenda becomes crystal clear.
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