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November 03rd 2012 print

Steve Kates

An addiction that must be broken

Come Tuesday in the US, Americans will have their chance to break with the mentality of dependence it has been Obama's gameplan to foster. In Australia, our chance will come next year


I had assumed that those BBC polls showing massive support worldwide for Obama over Mitt Romney were due to ignorance, the absence of any real dogs in the fight for those residing outside the US and the devilment of the media, which is not quite capable of keeping the truth about Romney breaking out in America but has kept the rest of the world almost completely in the dark about why the challenger is being supported by at least half the American population. We all know the media’s party line — all those Romney-voting religious cranks, racist crackers and gun nuts who cannot abide a black man in the White House.


But get past the stereotypes and the cliches and there remains no sensible reason why we here in Australia, who seem prepared to elect a Liberal Government the next time we are given a chance, prefer Obama over Romney at an absurd 68% to 7%.

Well, there is another way of looking at it: those responding to the survey understand perfectly well the difference between the two, but even so prefer Obama to Romney. If that’s the case, then things really are in a mess just about everywhere and the only hope is that America does elect Mitt Romney, who will start the process of renewal, first in America and then everywhere else as he stops paying their defence bills and begins a revival of the ethic of personal responsibility.

The well developed European decadence, reflected in the Continet’s preference for Obama, has been raised in a quite interesting article by Michael Ledeen. He calls the piece “Letter to My European Friends”, but that is just a polite cover for what he really means: Why You Europeans Are a Bunch of Bloody Fools. He writes:

“The American Revolution was a great thing, and Americans were right to abandon authoritarian Europe for the possibility of creating a free country across the ocean. Anyone who truly values liberty, has to see that Obama is a threat. He wants to turn the United States into a version of Europe: big, meddlesome government, constantly higher levels of taxation and intrusive regulation of almost everything, combined with a deliberate and systematic weakening of military power and a foreign policy that shrinks from decisive action against freedom’s enemies.

"That’s you, sadly. So it’s understandable that you’d favor Obama (although the numbers — reminiscent of plebiscites rather than normal elections — are ridiculous). It’s yet another sign of the decadence of Europe.”

Ledeen continues with a discussion of how far Europe has fallen. It had once been the centre of the creative universe, of science and innovation, but those days are now long gone:

“The Europe I loved, and still love, is increasingly a theme park. It’s fun to visit, but it’s no longer a source of creative inspiration. Europeans seem to me to have abdicated their liberties to their governments, provided that the governments provide them with an easy life, replete with free medical care, plenty of vacations, and no international obligations. Surely you know that very few of your tax euros go towards your defense. We have been paying that bill for decades, and our soldiers and military power have been protecting you.

“So don’t be surprised — but you should be very concerned — that we are increasingly looking across the Pacific. It’s no accident that the most brilliant and talented Americans are increasingly Asians, not Europeans.

“We don’t want to follow your example. And your landslide support of Obama — who has done terrible damage to America — confirms my pessimism about your future.”

Australia is not as far gone as Europe, but we are well on the way. It is going to be a pivotal election next year. The aim of the left is to create power for itself by fostering dependency in others. They are ruining Australia in the same way their brethren have ruined much of Europe — by pretending to make it better by softening the edges with the supposed intent to create a more just, equitable and harmonious society.

Alas, anyone who believes that our Prime Minister cares about anyone but herself is deluded and a fool. Still, there are plenty of people around happy to accept the deal she offers, and the greater number of those voters she can buy, the fewer of the rest will be left. Those who seek these faux-gold shackles will not get the security and protected living standards these socialist thieves are promising; we will all be the worse for it as they plunder more while misdirecting an increasing proportion of our wealth into uselessness and waste.

There are always some, unfortunately, who will take their chances that the handouts will keep on coming and the easy life can go on forever. Our only saving grace is that the proportion has not yet reached 50%. But if the Labor Party has anything to do with it, we will get there as quickly as it is humanly possible. And once there, that number will never again be allowed to shrink.

Tony Abbott has provided a contrasting vision — an honest vision steeped in the great traditions of the West. Nick Cater, blogging at The Australian, captured Abbott’s reply when he was asked what sort of Australia he would like to leave behind at the end of his prime ministerial term:

“My vision is for a people who are freer, prouder and more prosperous. And the end of government is to try to bring that about.

That’s why lower taxes, smaller government and greater freedom is the liberal part of my soul.

Respect for families and values that have stood the test of time is the conservative part of my soul.

And running a very practical, can-this-be-achieved ruler over everything is the pragmatic part of my soul.

The Coalition, at its best, will always be an enlightened blend of liberalism, conservatism and pragmatism.” 

In miniature, this captures the problem of the right in dealing with the left. The right has a vision of how a world can be best constructed by leaving each of us the freedom and opportunity to find our own way. It is always an adventure and nothing can be guaranteed, but there are satisfactions in being allowed to build our own lives ourselves and in our own way. But it comes with fewer forms of open-ended government support.

BY contrast, the left is filled with plans for what it will do for us: for “the poor”, “the disadvantaged”, for women, migrants, Aboriginals, or whoever can be transformed into a victim group and induced to become dependent on government programs, grants and handouts. Socialism is a drug of dependence. It is a narcotic addiction very hard to break.

The US election will be a test of the America’s will to break free of this addiction. We will have our own opportunity to do the same sometime in the following twelve months

 

Steve Kates teaches economics at RMIT University. His most recent book is Free Market Economics: an Introduction for the General Reader