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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Steal this Column

Over the past two weeks, the American media has spent countless hours discussing the unprecedented election of Barack Obama. While Obama’s status as the first African American to be elected to the office of president will certainly solidify his place in American history, his victory also signifies a drastic change in the political attitude of the American people.

Over the past eight years, the American public has become so disenfranchised by the political policies of the Bush administration that they are willing to – for the first time in history – sacrifice the principles of self reliance and individualism that our country was founded upon. The aim of this shift, as Obama once described, is to help the United States “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution – specifically, the Bill of Rights.

Since its inception in 1791, the Bill of Rights has served as the guideline for equitable interactions between the American people and their government. The 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights aim to limit the powers of Washington, effectively guaranteeing that the individual liberties of citizens cannot be infringed upon by their elected officials.

In a 2001 radio interview, Obama aptly described these first 10 amendments as a collection ofnegative rights,meaning that they outlined exactly what the government couldn’t do to its people. In Obama’s opinion, the essential flaw within the Bill of Rights is that it does include the addition ofpositive rights,or what the government must do for its people.

Obama plans to introduce this notion ofpositive rightsby guaranteeing certain services to each and every citizen. (i.e. universal healthcare) However, just asnegative rightsensure personal liberties by means of limiting the powers of government,positive rightsdrastically reduce the role of the individual by increasing the government’s presence in society.

For example, if the government is given the responsibility of providing affordable healthcare for all of its citizens, it must somehow find a way to provide services to those who cannot afford them. Essentially, the government will be given thepositive rightto take funds from those citizens who have, and direct them towards those who need. Those citizens who do not require government provided healthcare are ultimately left with the short end of the bargain, and are forced to direct their earnings towards the benefit of another.

It is this idea of forced charity – which stands in blatant disregard to the principle of self-reliance – that characterizes the drastic shift away from the ideals upon which our nation was founded. It is as if we, as a country, have grown tired of personal freedom, and are looking for new ways to surrender control over our lives to another.

It is this shift that will mark the beginning of America’s gradual descent into an Orwellian dystopia, and not just in terms of monetary redistribution. It is no coincidence that, only a week after Obama’s election, key Democratic officials such as Nancy Pelosi began running their mouths about ludicrous ideas such as reinstating the Fairness Doctrine – an FCC policy that required any media outlet who displayed a political slant to allow equal time for opposition comment, and was quite possible the closest thing America has ever had to athought police.

It appears that, after Nov. 4, it has come time for Americans to wave goodbye to free speech, goodbye to free thought, and goodbye to the notion that man is capable of governing himself – all in an effort to make way for the unprecedented change provided by Mr. Barack Obama.


JAMES NOONAN swears he will never live his life for the sake of another man, nor ask any man to live for his. All hate mail, which undoubtedly will follow any attack on Obama, can be sent to jjnoonan@ucdavis.edu.


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