Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Van Jones and the American Dream

by Robert Ringer

As I watch events unfolding in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, et al, I wonder how many Americans realize that government employees are demanding rights that exist only in their progressive minds. They have been led to believe that their desires are rights, and that includes the right to have the government take someone else’s property and give it to them simply because they want it.

In Wisconsin, the protesters keep insisting that Governor Walker is trying to destroy their “collective bargaining rights.” I give Walker an A thus far for his courageous stand on this issue. But I stop short of giving him an A+ because he has not made it clear that there is no such thing as a right to collectively bargain. Only individuals have rights, and, whether a religionist or atheist, any honest, rational person knows that these are rights that are self-evident and inherited at birth.

In fact, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness really comes down to a single right: the right to liberty – to be free to live your life as you please, so long as you do not violate anyone else’s right to do the same.

If one truly believes in the fundamental right to be free, then he is obliged to agree that an employer has a right to establish the rules regarding anything he owns, which includes banishing unions from his premises.

The problem with public-sector unions is that the employer is the government, so there’s an inherent conflict of interest. As Democrats have realized for decades, agreeing to the suicidal demands of public-sector unions can keep them in power.

The raucous protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere have emboldened the 30 percenters – the loud and foul left that has fundamentally changed America from the land of the free to the land of soft socialism over the past 100+ years.

A good example of this was a column in The Huffington Post last week by that paragon of social justice, Van Jones. What got my attention was the title of the article: “Introducing the ‘American Dream’ Movement.

Below is a reprint of a part of that article where Comrade Jones listed “the steps needed to renew and redeem the American Dream.”

* Increase revenue for America’s government sensibly by making Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share. [My note: The term fair share is a meaningless, abstract, subjective term that is impossible to define. And nothing could be further from individual liberty than the belief that government revenues should be increased.]

* Reduce spending responsibly by cutting the real fat – like corporate welfare for military contractors, big agriculture and big oil. [My note: I'm all for cutting corporate welfare, but the actual numbers make it clear that what needs to be cut even more is welfare to individuals and groups via hundreds of transfer-of-wealth programs.]

* Simultaneously protect the heart and soul of America – our teachers, nurses and first responders. [My note: Teachers, nurses, and first responders are not the heart and soul of America. Their jobs are important, to be sure. But the heart and soul of America is entrepreneurship - individuals willing to take risks and do whatever it takes to succeed. Entrepreneurs produce products and services that people want and, in so doing, create jobs and stimulate the economy - which is what makes it possible to pay teachers, nurses, and first responders.]

* Guarantee the health, safety and success of our children and communities by leaving the muscle and bone of America’s communities intact. [My note: Guarantee success? Really? The rest is unintelligible rhetoric - kind of like "hope and change."]

* Maintain the American Way by treating employees with dignity and respecting their right to a seat at the bargaining table. [My note: Employees do not have a "right to a seat at the bargaining table." However, every individual has a right to negotiate with any employer who, of his own free will, chooses to negotiate with him. In other words, a worker is free to sell his services in the open market - absent union or government coercion.]

* Rebuild the middle class – and pathways into it – by fighting for a “made in America” innovation and manufacturing agenda, including trade and currency policies that honor American workers and entrepreneurs. [My note: To Van Jones' credit, he does allude to entrepreneurs, but the rest of his statement is unintelligible. Who has the moral authority to "build the middle class" - and what does it even mean? How do you fight for a "made in America" innovation and manufacturing agenda?]

* Stand for the idea that, in a crisis, Americans turn TO each other – and not ON each other.[My note: Again, meaningless babble, though I admit that it might be a good idea to lecture progressives on cutting back on their hatemongering toward Tea Partiers, those who are financially successful, and just about anyone who doesn't agree with their strong-armed tactics to bring about a redistribution-of-wealth society.]

Honesty compels me to admit that if communism is the American Dream to Van Jones, he has a right to define it that way. However, my own definition of the American Dream gets back to that one unalienable right I mentioned earlier – liberty – nothing more and nothing less. The problem with the Van Jones American Dream is that it requires that the liberty of some people must be violated in order to satisfy the desires of others. By contrast, in my American Dream, liberty must always be given a higher priority than all other objectives.

It is impossible to reconcile these two philosophical views
, which is why it is imperative that the state governors and the 70 percent majority of citizens not compromise in the showdown that is now playing out across the nation. It is the first of many showdowns to come over the next two years, and, from a psychological standpoint, I believe that winning the first one is extremely important.

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