By: Brian Sikma
When President Barack Obama signed the $780 billion stimulus bill into law on February 17, he made official an economic policy that takes our nation further down the wrong path. The billions of dollars in new government spending that the stimulus contains represent the wrong kind of response to our nation’s economic troubles. With unemployment rising, home foreclosures increasing, businesses struggling, and banks faltering, we do not need an economic “recovery” plan that calls for policies that will increase inflation, penalize those who succeed and deal with the symptoms, and not the root, of our problems.
History does not often grant the actors in its drama the luxury of writing their own account of events and their response to them. But sometimes the challenges of the day are of such magnitude and of such a nature as to demand a clear and unmistakable response. It is during times like these that our answer defines us more than the challenge itself, and history is left to draw but one conclusion from our actions. Such a time is before us now.
Although the economic challenges that we face are severe, they will not define us for generations to come. Our generation will not be judged by history based on the magnitude of the problem we were required to face. Our generation will be judged on its response to the problem and, in turn, its embrace of liberty or its embrace of a government controlled security that requires us to sacrifice our freedom. The response of our government to the economic slowdown has, to date, been one of greater intrusion, intervention, regulation, and management. It has not been one that respects freedom, advances the principles of our founding, and lays the groundwork for future economic prosperity.
If we chose to continue to allow our government to pass economic stimulus bills that we cannot pay for now, and that we may never be able to pay for in the future, and if we continue to stand by as our government takes our money and the money of future generations and bails out politically powerful companies, we will have chosen to abandon a future of freedom. I do not believe that this is what the American people will do. I do not believe that they will choose this ignoble course.
The choice that we face between choosing freedom and choosing slavery to our government is not a choice between action and inaction. The question before us today is whether we will accept government-backed security or whether we will chose to embrace liberty and all of the exhilarating possibilities and boundless opportunities that it presents us. To answer in either way we must act. We must either act by allowing government to continue on its present course of expanding at the price of our freedom; or we must act by replacing outdated regulatory structures and tax systems with new structures and new systems that reward entrepreneurialism and hard work.
Among us today are some leaders who preach a gospel of greater security and a more equal distribution of success. They urge us to set aside the freedom we have enjoyed in the past for the sake of a security guaranteed by a government that will have control over every aspect of our life. The uncertainty of freedom is just not worth it, we are told. Unless we accept their prescriptions for more spending, more government mandates, and less personal responsibility, we face an economic catastrophe on a scale greater than any in our history. This is but one voice in the debate, however.
There is another voice, or perhaps a symphony of voices, urging us to pursue a different course. A course that diverges from the path that we are presently on and our current leaders are intent on following. This other voice urges us not to forsake freedom for the temporary safety that is found in government mandated mediocrity. It is the voice of our founding fathers who endured the perils of independence, suffered the dangers of war, persevered through the miseries of economic hardship and worked to overcome petty political differences to create a new nation birthed in freedom and bought in blood. It is the voice of a generation that fought to overcome the terrible evils of slavery. It is the voice of a generation that, not all that long ago, found itself embroiled in a world war that was a global conflict between good and evil. It is the voice of countless millions who endured the hardships of our history because they believed in the limitless potential of a free people. It is the voice of future generations urging us to keep faith.
Freedom has never been an easy or free thing. Nor should it be. It costs something to earn and keep freedom. For the citizen-soldier that price is sometimes the ultimate sacrifice. For the citizen-statesmen that price is sometimes short-term expediency and popularity. For the citizen like you and me that price is the security that a big government brings. We could have security in an instant, we could have government mandated efficiency in a heart beat, if we are willing lay aside our hopes and dreams and aspirations for the future.
Government granted security brings a certainty that is unlike the sometimes unpredictable business of individual responsibility and personal economic choice. With government in control, we can expect all the misery to be shared equally, for there is no such thing as success in a socialist state. With government in control, we can all expect to achieve the same bland level of subsistence, with our futures undifferentiated by our dreams and our ability to find our personal calling and fulfill our God-given destiny as individuals.
Will we chose to follow the prophets of doom and gloom who predict calamity if we do not submit to a government that is growing more socialist by the day? Or will we answer that other voice, the voice of the past and the voice of the future, that urges us not to give up on our heritage of freedom? We are Americans and it is our history, our tradition, and our nature to chose freedom over bondage. We will not sacrifice freedom for the sake of a temporary and fleeting moment of security. Yes, we will be required to endure an economic downturn, but we will not do it by remaining inactive.
Instead of choosing a future defined by government and socialist policies, we will chose a future that rewards the virtues of responsibility, integrity, work, thrift, and saving. We will chose a future where we fulfill our purpose in life without the government telling us what we can and can’t do. Our dreams and our visions will not be bound and limited by the anemic thinking of bureaucrats. We will stand tall and rugged in the face of this storm for we will chose to follow the path of freedom. We will not falter now and we will carry ourselves forward with such character and bearing that future generations of Americans will look back and say that we stayed true to our principles, we kept the faith, we endured the struggle, we strove for higher things.