By MICHAEL A. WALSH
‘It captures the spirit of our Founders, the spirit they wrote in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty,and pursuit of happiness,” said Nancy Pelosi the other day. But the “it” she was celebrating wasn’t the country’s 237th birthday or the 150th anniversary of the Union’s bloody victory at Gettysburg.
No, the former speaker of the House was burbling with joy over the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s stunning decision justifying ObamaCare as a “tax” — a law so unpopular that the Obama administration itself just quietly announced the delay of a key part for a full year.
Which kicks the can past next year’s congressional elections, a clear dodge aimed at avoiding a bloodbath at the ballot box.
But Pelosi’s still cooing: “So we’ve had Social Security, Medicare and now health independence, and that’s something our members will take home to celebrate over this Independence Day,” she said.
Now, everyone can recall the stirring preamble to the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...” The entire American experiment in personal liberty is predicated upon them.
What’s often forgotten, though — especially by the likes of Pelosi — is what comes next: the bill of particulars against King George III that justified the colonial rebellion. And it’s helpful to recall how we got here — and what we must always be on guard against.
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance,” reads one of Jefferson’s indictments against the king. Today, those words nicely cover big government, the intrusive leviathan state and its army of unelected regulators and unaccountable bureaucrats who really run the country.
Recent and still unfolding scandals involving the Internal Revenue Service (now hiring some 16,000 new agents to enforce ObamaCare’s mandate that everyone buy health insurance or pay a “tax” for noncompliance) show just how much we have to fear from politicized agents acting not on behalf of the nation but of the government.
Throw in the National Security Agency’s warrantless snooping through the metadata of millions of Americans and foreigners in the name of “national security,” and you have a potential tyranny far more dangerous than anything the Hanoverian monarchs ever dreamt of.
Pelosi’s citing of two of big government’s most popular — and most expensive — programs neatly illustrates the moral divide facing our country. Initially sold to the American people as compassionate imperatives, Social Security and Medicare are nearly bankrupt, by their own trustees’ assessment.
As for ObamaCare, its nuclear effect on the nation’s finances will be so awful that its chief author, retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), has called it a “train wreck.”
No wonder the president is trying to lessen the blow by delaying the law’s job-annihilating pressures on employers.
But forget about the inevitable fiscal Armageddon for the moment and consider instead the cost of big government to our country’s spirit.
A land conceived in individual liberty — not group identity — and in like-minded community organizations, such as churches and social clubs — not the top-down handiwork of Alinskyite “community organizers” — is morphing into a country of supplicants, always on the lookout for the next handout.
What the left ignores or denies is that there is no such thing as group liberty, group rights or group anything — that favoritism to one protected class must necessarily come at the expense of some other group. That “communities” spring not from outside agitators trying to pit various classes of people against one another, but from the souls of the people who voluntarily form them.
That “regulation,” in its original sense, meant facilitating matters to let individuals prosper, not micro-managing peoples’ lives from Washington.
That, in short, liberty is either for everyone, or for no one.
No one ever said that independence would be easy. The men who signed the Declaration famously pledged “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” to each other in order to achieve it, or die trying.
That’s the true spirit of community, and of the Founders. And it’s that spirit that we should honor — and emulate — on this Independence Day.