The Osawatomie Speech: A Defining Moment In History

Econophile's picture

This article originally appeared in the Daily Capitalist.

COMMENTARY

I am not a fan of Barack Obama, but I have not criticized him as harshly as many other writers do. I have a different view of him. I see him as a rather run of the mill Progressive/Liberal who firmly believes his ideology and acts somewhat consistently on those ideas. Rather than pillory him personally, my approach has been to criticize the philosophy of which he is a product. In my mind, it's all about ideas. I detest his ideas because I believe they are anti-intellectual and they don't work. 

There are many like Mr. Obama out there. His admirers perceive themselves as being the "downtrodden", envious of the accomplishments and wealth of those whose abilities they cannot match. I get that: if you can't achieve it, take it from those who can. Even those limousine liberals who have wealth and accomplishment perceive themselves as either being guilty of their wealth or come from backgrounds where these ideas are passed along. Mr. Obama is no different than any other politician: he seeks power and admiration and the ability to impose his ideas on America.

We here at the Daily Capitalist try everyday to combat those ideas by demonstrating their lack of efficacy and by presenting analyses of events in a free market framework which analyses have actually been quite accurate in forecasting economic outcomes. We try to be the antidote to the Progressive juggernaut. 

And then I heard President Obama's speech at Osawatomie, Kansas this week.

It perhaps wasn't surprising, but I was appalled. It was deceitful, inaccurate, revisionist, and demagogic. 

Mr. Obama uses every cliché in the Progressive handbook to make his point. His direct point was that the "rich" should pay more taxes. The underlying point and theme of his speech was that individual effort, individualism, free market capitalism, and success is a gift bestowed by "society" on the successful and that what "society" grants, it can take away because "society" needs it. It is the collective versus the individual.

His speech is a recreation, a fabrication if you will, of history, economics, and philosophy into a Pandoran construct of collectivist statism whereby society can demand the individual's obedience and obeisance. In short, folks, it's a crock.

If you think I am exaggerating, I urge you to read or hear his entire speech. You may find the full text and video of the speech here.

Here is just one typical statement from his speech:

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

 

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

This is the stuff that demagogues spew to the guileless. And the problem is that he believes it with all his heart. The man is not stupid nor slow on his feet, despite what his harshest critics day. He's not a mere puppet of the union bosses. He's bright, articulate, and well educated. Yet he has learned nothing despite his years of education and now he's at the vanguard of the Progessive/socialist/welfare statist/national corporatist movement in America. If he has the force of personality he could be another Franklin Roosevelt, the president who did more harm to America than any other leader in our history. Fortunately, he may not have that strength of character.

While we may criticize the Republicans for being much of the same, there is still a difference. We are, as I have noted before, at a tipping point in America where:

Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

No wonder the audience at Osawatomie loved him.

This is what has happened to much of Europe where welfare recipients voted themselves increasing benefits and economic stagnation and eventual bankruptcy. This is exactly where we are headed politically.

And this is why this election is critical. We must turn this ship around.