Let freedom ring 254

We found this text, extracted from a speech Mitt Romney is to make in Missouri today, at PowerLine, posted by John Hinderaker:

Along with the genius of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, is the equal genius of our economic system. Our Founding Fathers endeavored to create a moral and just society like no other in history, and out of that grew a moral and just economic system the likes of which the world had never seen. Our freedom, what it means to be an American, has been defined and sustained by the liberating power of the free enterprise system.

That same system has helped lift more people out of poverty across the globe than any government program or competing economic system. The success of America’s free enterprise system has been a bright beacon of freedom for the world. It has signaled to oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors, and given hope to the once hopeless. 

It is called the Free Enterprise System because we are both free to engage in enterprises and through those enterprises we ensure our freedom.

But sadly, it has become clear that this President simply doesn’t understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our system. Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or simply disappeared from the work force. Record numbers of Americans are living in poverty today – over 46 million of our fellow Americans are living below the poverty line. …

This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportions. …

John Hinderaker comments:

Conservative economic policies don’t just create more wealth than socialism or liberalism, they are morally superior to socialism and liberalism. Let’s hope that today’s speech is just a small preview of what is to come from the Romney campaign.

Socialism creates no wealth at all. It’s a wealth and prosperity killer. Vide Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, France …

As to the morality of socialism, we often say that to take money from someone who has earned it and give it to someone who hasn’t is intensely immoral. And that is what socialist governments do.

Walter Williams writes at Townhall:

Benjamin Franklin, statesman and signer of our Declaration of Independence, said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” …  Are today’s Americans virtuous and moral, or have we become corrupt and vicious? Let’s think it through with a few questions.

Suppose I saw an elderly woman painfully huddled on a heating grate in the dead of winter. She’s hungry and in need of shelter and medical attention. To help the woman, I walk up to you using intimidation and threats and demand that you give me $200. Having taken your money, I then purchase food, shelter and medical assistance for the woman. Would I be guilty of a crime? A moral person would answer in the affirmative. I’ve committed theft by taking the property of one person to give to another.

Most Americans would agree that it would be theft regardless of what I did with the money. Now comes the hard part. Would it still be theft if I were able to get three people to agree that I should take your money? What if I got 100 people to agree — 100,000 or 200 million people? What if instead of personally taking your money to assist the woman, I got together with other Americans and asked Congress to use Internal Revenue Service agents to take your money? In other words, does an act that’s clearly immoral and illegal when done privately become moral when it is done legally and collectively? Put another way, does legality establish morality? Before you answer, keep in mind that slavery was legal; apartheid was legal; the Nazi’s Nuremberg Laws were legal; and the Stalinist and Maoist purges were legal. Legality alone cannot be the guide for moral people.

The moral question is whether it’s right to take what belongs to one person to give to another to whom it does not belong. 

Don’t get me wrong. I personally believe that assisting one’s fellow man in need by reaching into one’s own pockets is praiseworthy and laudable. Doing the same by reaching into another’s pockets is despicable, dishonest and worthy of condemnation. Some people call governmental handouts charity, but charity and legalized theft are entirely two different things. [And] as far as charity is concerned, James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, said, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” To my knowledge, the Constitution has not been amended to include charity as a legislative duty of Congress.

Our current economic crisis, as well as that of Europe, is a direct result of immoral conduct. Roughly two-thirds to three-quarters of our federal budget can be described as Congress’ taking the property of one American and giving it to another. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid account for nearly half of federal spending. Then there are corporate welfare and farm subsidies and thousands of other spending programs, such as food stamps, welfare and education. According to a 2009 Census Bureau report, nearly 139 million Americans — 46 percent — receive handouts from one or more federal programs …

Ayn Rand, in her novel “Atlas Shrugged,” reminded us that “when you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good.”

Would a President Romney return America to virtue as well as to prosperity?

We know better than to hope that any government would shrink itself to the minimal size of the libertarian-conservative ideal. Or that entitlements such as Social Security will ever be entirely abolished.

But Romney respects the idea of individual liberty as the Founding Fathers did; and he knows that only the free enterprise system opens the way for every individual to become prosperous – by his own endeavors. So Romney would be likely to take steps to restore confidence in business, reduce the number of hampering regulations the Obama administration has imposed, encourage innovation, and generally reward self-reliance.

That would be a good start, and the expectation of it a good reason to support his bid for the presidency.