One of the disappointing messages sent to the American people from its leaders in the days after 9/11 was that the best way to defeat terrorism was to continue to live life as usual. Rudy Giuliani told New Yorkers to go to the the movies and George W. Bush encouraged us to go shopping. Our enemies must have cowered at the thought of the family of four braving the movie theater in order to see the latest flick and the upper crust of Manhattan feasting on expensive delicacies at the local five star restaurant. The patriotic duty before all Americans, we were told, was to continue to be good consumers. No sacrifice was necessary.
Last week when President Obama gave his address before both Houses of Congress, he outlined an expensive and ambitious plan that, if implemented, would indeed transform the social structures of the United States. Did the President call on the American people to sacrifice in order to pay for his social agenda of universal health care and green energy? Not at all-- in fact, the President promised that 98% of the American people would receive a tax cut (even those who pay no taxes) while the government spends record sums of money. So, who will sacrifice to pay for the trillions we are going to spend over the next few years? The wealthiest 2% will fund government's grand giveaway. The political philosophy is obvious: only the few we envy the most have to sacrifice on behalf of the rest of us, who will benefit from what they have paid so that the rest of us can, not only live life as usual, but reap even more benefits without having to lift a finger on our own behalf.
This post is not about the benefits or the lack thereof of massive government spending. That is another post for another time. What this is about is the inability of our leaders to inspire us to give of ourselves for the sake of others. We can defeat terrorism by nourishing our selfishness and we can have everything we want from the government's "candy store" by feeding the envy we feel for those who have more than we do.
When CEOs receive fat bonuses and golden parachutes for running their companies into the ground, that is socialism on stilts. When the government runs up massive debt the likes of which no one has ever seen with no way to pay for it except by the forced sacrifice of the few, that too is socialism on stilts. Both types of behavior are doubtfully Christian.
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian