Most of these big, contentious issues that we're currently debating revolve around one core principle: freedom.
Who makes your health care choices? Do you have the freedom to buy insurance or not, depending on what's best for you? Do you have the freedom to choose the health plan that best fits your needs? Do you have the freedom to choose your own doctor? Do you have the freedom to pay out of pocket for medical services?
Who determines your energy consumption? Do you have the freedom to buy the light bulbs that you like most, are the safest, and the cheapest? Do you have the freedom to buy a large (safe) car or SUV if that's what you want to drive? Do you have the freedom to have your thermostat on whatever temperature you want? Do you have the freedom to buy whatever size of TV you want?
How much of your money does the government take every month? With more disposable income, you have the freedom to buy whatever you want (or need), but as taxes go up your paycheck goes down, thus affecting your ability to buy the activities and products you want or need. How much economic freedom does the government leave you?
It's all about freedom.
The Left is moving fast and hard while they've got big majorities in Congress to curtail freedom wherever possible. The Left believes that you don't deserve freedom because you aren't as educated or intelligent as they are, that you really don't have a clue, and thus that you should do what they tell you to do. You can't possible complain about this, either, because it's for your own good.
The Right stands for the most freedom possible without descending into a state of anarchy. The Right believes that YOU are the one who knows what health care plan is best for you and your family, even if that means no health insurance. The Right believes that YOU are the best judge of what car meets your needs and desires. The Right believes that YOU are the one who knows best how to spend YOUR money.
I believe this is the primary ideological struggle we are dealing with in America right now. If the Left succeeds, freedom as we now know it will be a thing of the past, and the government will control vast amounts of your life, even micromanaging some of the most basic decisions you make on a daily basis. If the Right can stand on core principles to effectively overcome the big Leftist push currently going on, I think the Left's ideas will be so thoroughly discredited that we will see relative peace, freedom, and prosperity for years to come. Case in point: Ronald Reagan.
Reagan took on the entire Leftist establishment — and this was before there was a 'new media' or the Internet — and won by clearly communicating the basic principles of conservatism to attract a massive following. It's your money, so you should keep more of it. The government isn't the solution, it's the problem. Peace through strength. These are the things that are bred into the American spirit, and they resonated with the American people. By bringing them along with his agenda, the Leftist establishment was helpless to resist, and America saw two decades of unrivaled prosperity and military supremacy. It is only now, after years of Democrat (and squishy Republican) 'leadership' that we are seeing the fall-off of the things Reagan put into place. The differences are stark, as Veronique de Rugy at NRO illustrates:
Cato Institute's VP David Boaz has this interesting post comparing Obama's and Reagan’s definitions of freedom. The analysis — based on President Obama's speech to Chinese college students on Monday and Pres. Ronald Reagan's speech to Moscow State University students in 1988 — reveals some striking differences.
Obama, Boaz writes, gave an eloquent defense of freedom, and in particular “freedoms of expression and worship — of access to information and political participation,” which he identifies as core American and universal values. Yet the president leaves out “freedom of enterprise, property rights, and limited government as American values. Those are not only the necessary conditions for growth and prosperity, they are the necessary foundation for civil liberties.”
In other words, he doesn't truly get what freedom is about.
Now let's look at Reagan. The president starts with democracy, justice, and openess and then:
He came back to the basic purpose of democracy in the American context, not a plebiscitary system but a way to ensure that the governors don’t exceed the consent of the governed: “Democracy is less a system of government than it is a system to keep government limited, unintrusive; a system of constraints on power to keep politics and government secondary to the important things in life, the true sources of value found only in family and faith.”
He tied all of these freedoms to the American commitment to economic freedom as well. Throughout the speech he tried to enlighten students who had grown up under communism about the meaning of free enterprise.
By the way, the same can be said about the way Obama uses words like competition, accountability, or fiscal responsibility. Obviously, the president doesn't understand the full or true meaning of these words, either.
I believe that we are fast approaching a tipping point which will determine the direction of the country for the foreseeable future, and the bottom line is freedom. Will we retain it, or will we give it up to a soulless, incompetent, and impersonal government that is interested only in its own well-being?
The answer that we — right now, in 2009 and 2010 — provide to that question will guide America into the 21st century, and dictate what kind of future world our children and grandchildren inherit from us. The stakes couldn't be higher.
There's my two cents.