New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking to the UN General Assembly:
To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.
Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…
So is it government’s highest duty to make healthy solutions the default social option? Or are governments instituted among Men to secure our unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?
I think I’ll let you decide who which speaker is correct.
Over at Marketwatch, Rex Nutting lists “The 10 best things government has done for us“:
- Protecting our freedoms
- Giving away the land
- Educating everybody
- Helping us retire with dignity
- Improving public health
- Building our transportation networks
- Investing in communications
- Building our energy supply
- Inventing the future
- Defeating totalitarianism
Yet, Nutting writes that “everyone knows that the government can do a lot to create the right conditions for prosperity” and “Our democratic government — along with you, me and our ancestors — created the conditions that have allowed private citizens and companies to build a great nation.” But many of these are simply government handouts–redistribution of wealth–not the creation of conditions.
Did we really want the government to give away land? (I write about this very issue in Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers.) Funny, now the government takes land away from private individuals instead of giving it to them.
And why should the government invest in the future, building our energy supply, invest in communications, build our transportation networks (I also write about this in Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers), etc.? Aren’t those the domain of private enterprise?
But why shouldn’t the government provide these free goods and services to us? Yes, I said FREE! Because the author, Rex Nutting, not once mentions taxes. He fails to mention that the resources used by the government to do these things took resources away from the private economy, which would have made use of them to provide the same or different goods and services to us.
Thus, Mr. Nutting provides us with just half the picture, and a distorted half at that.
In today’s speech to the United Nations, President Barack Obama stated:
Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be.
More than 3,000 years ago, King Solomon wrote the exact opposite (Ecclesiastes 1:9):
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Hmm… Which one of these great men should I believe?
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon decided to act more like a typical American and less like a politician on Sunday when he skipped a 9/11 memorial event, leaving a City Council member as a pinch hitter.
Gordon said he decided to ponder the ramifications of 9/11 on his own rather than giving yet another speech at the Never Forget 9/11 Memorial Walk and Celebration event.
9/11 has become too politicized, Gordon said, and didn’t think that one more or one less speech about 9/11 made by a politician would make much of difference.
“It didn’t feel right to me,” Gordon said.
For those who don’t know, Phil Gordon will be replaced by a new mayor following an election in November. Because of term limits, Gordon could not run again.
So how would the mayor’s attendance be political? The mayor could have represented Phoenix with absolutely no political agenda because he is not running for political office at the moment.
Even if Mayor Gordon feels better memorializing 9/11 in his own way, as the representative of the nation’s sixth largest city, it is his job to represent his city and his constituents. Gordon’s non-attendance reminds me of what I won’t be missing come his departure.
The war on charity, which I’ve written about here and here, continues. This time, the politicians are not fighting against money-based charity, but against good deeds by the public. Just last week, one good Samaritan was ticketed for directing traffic when a traffic light went out and the police failed to act:
When a major traffic light in the area went out Thursday morning, Alan Ehrlich took matters into his own hands, directing traffic at Fair Oaks and Huntington avenues.
“I grabbed a bright orange shirt that I have and a couple of orange safety flags. I took it upon myself to help get motorists through that intersection faster,” said Ehrlich.
Before Ehrlich stepped in, traffic was backed up for more than a mile and it took more than 30 minutes to get through the busy intersection.
Ehrlich said the Sept. 8 incident wasn’t the first and that the light goes out regularly.
“It was just kind of chaos of cars . . . there were stop signs up. But people were challenging each other to get through the intersection,” said Richard Gerrish who works at an office located at the intersection.
Gerrish said Ehrlich cleared up the mess in 10 minutes. After 15 minutes, South Pasadena police say they finally received a call about their newest traffic officer.
Police responded to the scene and told Ehrlich to stop and issued him a ticket, but never stepped into direct traffic themselves.
“I don’t know if this ticket is $50 or $400 dollars. It’s a small price to pay for the greater good,” Ehrlich said.
Alan Ehrlich should be given a medal for helping his community. He should receive the key to city for service to his city. Instead, Mr. Ehrlich receives a fine from the city.
On this tenth anniversary of 9/11–when we memorialize the victims and heroes of that day–in a small way, Mr. Ehrlich is an American hero as well. And the residents of South Pasadena are victims of their government’s incompetence and hunger for power.
In a speech to AFL-CIO union member, Vice President Joe Biden said:
This is a different kind of fight. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate!
Time to teach Joe Biden a history lesson. While the barbarians “sacked” Rome, they did not destroy Rome. The Roman people destroyed Rome. The barbarians just destroyed what was left of the city, which was just one-tenth of what it used to be in terms of population.
In his Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, Montesquieu writes:
Pursued by tax farmers, the citizens could do nothing but seek refuge among the barbarians or surrender their liberty to the first person who wanted to take it.
So even if we the tea party were barbarians, the Democrats then represent Tiberius Gracchus, Nero, Caligula, Commodus, Septimius Severus, Claudius Gothicus, and Diocletian: the men who slowly but surely destroyed everything that was great about Rome.
What Would The Founders Think? posted a great review/summary of my new book, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution.
Michael Newton’s latest book, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers, is a densely packed, meticulously researched, compendium of historical knowledge. Newton has done a great job assembling a formidable bibliography1 of both original sources and the works of respected historians, synthesizing them into an exposition of the forces responsible for the American experiment.
Newton documents the disparate roles played by “angry mobs” and by “Founding Fathers.” These two forces were not always in sync with one another. At times the irascible mobs were in control, and the aristocratic Founders struggled to reign them in, guide their passions, or even just keep up. At other times, like during the period of Constitutional Convention, it was the Founders who struggled to convince the masses of the efficacy of their plans.