Theocracy from the Left; or, Other people’s money


At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this month, President Obama played up his Christian faith, declaring “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” Attempting to marshal scripture in support of his idea of fairness, he ended up inserting a theological foot into his political mouth by conflating God and government.  In this, Mr. Obama managed to betray an aloofness from mainstream churches as well as raise a troubling portent for civil libertarians.

With the words “much shall be required,” what else did the Central-Planner-in-Chief mean but to put the tax man’s moral authority on par with God’s?  Christians understand that God doesn’t compel anyone to obedience, but leaves each of us to our free will and our conscience.  By contrast, human government must compel its citizens.  Taxes are collected ultimately at the barrel of a gun.  That’s why the founders saw it as essential to limit what is “required” by the government.

During the Bush years, a handful of agitated liberals spawned a new book industry, warning of theocracy arising from the Religious Right.  If history’s any predictor, President Obama’s statement should launch a new wave of dire tomes warning against a theocracy of the Religious Left.  The social justice crowd that rallies behind Obama’s fairness push is out of touch with America’s exceptional ethos and experience: that a people, under the guidance of God and conscience, and free from a central meddler, have built for the world a Shining City on a Hill.

Besides conflating God and government, the President and his tax-the-rich allies have committed another type of unforced error in their moral reasoning.  Mr. Obama, investment wiz Warren Buffett, and retired Google exec Eric Schmidt have each, in recent times, implored that their own taxes be raised.  Their advocacy sweeps up all the fellow earners in their tax bracket, both the willing and unwilling.  How is this kind of appeal sensible?  It’s a perverse, inverted golden rule.  Like saying you personally don’t mind being bludgeoned, so it’s okay to bludgeon your peers.  It seems as if these folks are hoping your brain isn’t turned on.  Or maybe that you won’t notice theirs aren’t.  There’s a certain kind of arrogance in volunteering other people’s money.

So in a couple of ways Obama and company’s moral arguments are really lacking.  But don’t forget the facts about our nation’s recent Great Society redux.  Stephen Moore’s op-ed challenge to the White House fairness narrative provides us with a rich inventory of ways our big government has failed us to date .  Among the more salient is the mounting concentration of national wealth in the suburbs of Washington DC; the top three median income counties in the nation are clustered in the DC metro area.  Such a backslide of civilization would give any shameless, caviar-chomping commissar of Soviet-era Moscow a run for his money.  And we know that whatever part of our nation’s economic lifeblood that does not end up feeding a Falls Church jumbo mortgage tends to get lost in legislative backscratching or bureaucratic head-scratching.

Anyway you dice the tax dollar, Washington isn’t justified in its spending increases.  Given President Obama’s deficit deafness, and Democrats’ contorted fairness distractions, voters need to just say “No!” and oust the tax-grubbing big spenders this November.

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About cogitating duck
I study Christian apologetics at Biola University and occasionally write on ethics, truth, science and politics.

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