So, I’m not certain that President Obama or his speechwriters actually understand what “individualism” is. In a speech on Tuesday, President Obama was speaking to the Catholic Health Association discussing the topics of health care in America and Obamacare, when he described Obamacare as part of our tradition of “rugged individualism that defines America.”
The President seems to have forgotten that Obamacare is quite literally the opposite of what we would call… individualism. Perhaps understanding that no one, any where, would be able to understand how he could possibly link our history of “rugged individualism” with something that forces some people to take care of other people, the President tried to explain what he meant.
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The rugged individualism that defines America has always been bound by a set of shared values; an enduring sense that we are in this together. That America is not a place where we simply ignore the poor or turn away from the sick. It’s a place sustained by the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper. That we have an obligation to put ourselves in our neighbor’s shoes, and to see the common humanity in each other.
The problem here is that the President links our history of willingness to help our neighbors with Obamacare. The two could not be more different.
Throughout our history Americans have chosen, of their own free will, to go to their neighbor’s aid knowing that one day they might need their neighbor to return the favor. The government was not about the business of coercing this behavior, because as American individualists, we understood that the government has no right to force us to help each other. In fact, if the government forces us to do it… it’s not really that kind or generous of an act. It’s simply forcing one set of Americans to be enslaved to another set of Americans.
No, President Obama’s view of our history, of our “rugged individualism” and of our “shared values” is perverted by his despicable sense of what justice is. He uses the force of government to coerce people to do the things that he deems appropriate, even if they have no desire to do so. We have a word for this type of behavior – IMMORAL.
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