Nine Terrifying Words

by Allan Erickson   10.17.08


People dispute this, but many say Winston Churchill once stated the following:


“If you are not liberal in youth, you have no heart, and if you are not conservative in later life, you have no head.”


I followed the pattern.   As a college student, and for years afterward, I was liberal, very liberal, in my entire world view, not just politically.


I recall a newspaper editor of mine years ago describing his journey from liberal to conservative, explaining that the realities and difficulties of life eventually confront and contradict liberal presuppositions, chief among them, the idea that sheer human wisdom will overcome human wickedness if we build and maintain correct and benevolent political and economic structures required to dispel injustice and poverty.  


Of course the trouble is agreeing on what the “correct” structures are, and agreeing how to maintain those structures.  However the larger issue involves the reliability of sheer human wisdom.  Cutting to the bottom line: has human wisdom ever delivered us from human wickedness, ever?


Liberals routinely urge us to rely on human wisdom manifest in government for salvation.   The trouble with liberalism is with the core of its philosophy, that human wisdom is reliable, especially when expressed through bureaucracy.  Since when?   


Ever been to a V.A. Hospital?  Sure, roads get built, at huge cost overruns.  Has the $50B a year Energy Department created by Jimmy Carter produced one dime’s worth of independence from foreign oil?  What has the $25B a year Education Department ever done for you, other than provide declining test scores and soaring dropout rates?  How about government-sponsored family planning giving us 40 million abortions, STD epidemics, teen pregnancy, encouraging promiscuity, much of this impacting negatively the very building block of society, the nuclear family.  Examples of government incompetence and waste are monumental.  About the only government-run outfit of merit is the Post Office, and even there, they clear the place with an AK periodically.  Our military is brilliant, but even there, line troops joke about SNAFU.


And then, the most glaring recent example of liberalism run amok—Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac—a massive fraud by government trying to engineer outcomes, yielding economic destruction, leaving the poor worse off than before.


Ronald Reagan was absolutely correct proclaiming:  “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”


I’m reading his diaries.  Very insightful.  In 1982 he said unless we reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, those programs will overwhelm the federal budget to the detriment of all other spending priorities.  Here we are today, and those programs consume 45% of the budget.  With Boomers now retiring and submitting claims, the system will collapse in perhaps 15 years. 


The only practical solution is generating more government revenue through economic growth stimulated by tax cuts, open markets and renewed productivity, coupled with drastic cuts in federal spending, the Republican platform.


Instead, Democrats insist on increasing taxes and increasing spending, all in the name of relying on human wisdom and government.  Trouble is, this platform will only accelerate economic decline, hastening collapse.  Some people think that is the idea, for once the collapse occurs, a new socialist utopia can be constructed on top of the rubble.


Furthermore, modern liberalism runs contrary to American tradition.


After all, our country was born out of a deep suspicion of government, a deep resentment felt toward oppressive bureaucracy, and a violent rejection of the idea government was the answer, coupled with a hunger for FREEDOM.  Thanks to an ever-expanding federal government populated by politicians who no longer represent the people, we face much the same situation as did the Founding Fathers.  This is no longer a government by, for and of the people as Lincoln proclaimed.  It is a government by, for and of liberals, and the ‘new’ structures they are building to ‘dispel injustice and poverty,’ more government domination, and control, especially control of the economy.


We were in a huge debt situation before the crash and the $1.5 trillion bailout, before many banks were ‘nationalized.’  Politicians have put us in hock up to our ear lobes. We are slaves to debt and government.  Think of the control government will have over your life once government controls your health care, cradle to grave.  Remember, health care represents about 1/7th of the U.S. economy. 


The Founders would be astonished and ashamed to see people who call themselves Americans willingly allow government shackles to destroy the original goals of the Revolution.


In 1972 I voted for Shirley Chisholm.  Back then I was a liberal, and she was a champion of the underdog.  She was also a champion of open government.  She hated the back room dealing in Washington.  She also scolded voters, saying Americans get the government they deserve, and if we don’t like what’s going on, we have the power to change it.  She got my vote because she had guts and spoke plainly.


The question is, will Americans vote freedom Nov. 4 and return to the principles that launched our great Republic, or will we meekly walk into the prison cell and close the door, content to be housed and fed, no longer a free and vibrant people?


The Founders knew something about human wickedness and the power of power to corrupt.  This is precisely why they designed a system of checks and balances so that the three branches of government would be restrained.  The idea was to avoid too much power centering in one place so as to corrupt the entire government.


The assumption is Barack Obama will be our next President, and he will preside over a heavily liberalized Legislature, and he will appoint liberal Justices, creating a heavily liberalized Supreme Court.  If this happens, too much power will be centered in one place, and checks and balances will be drastically diminished, perhaps rendered impotent.


So here is a negative reason to Vote McCain: preservation of the system of checks and balances.


Here is a positive reason to Vote McCain: if you understand the preservation of freedom requires hard choices that often run contrary to self interest (a matter of the head, not the heart), then you also understand we must stand with Lincoln, Churchill and Reagan, and vote to preserve traditional Americanism.



And besides, in a world more dangerous than ever, does it make sense to gamble on an unknown quantity when you have a known and reliable alternative?



PS:  Leftists academics and media types said Reagan was unqualified, ignorant, reactionary, stupid, uninformed and out of touch, but Reagan’s presidency is now seen as one of the most successful in history, simply because he had faith in traditional American values, promoted them, and confronted evil.  McCain/Palin are cut from the same cloth. 



I could be wrong, but I suspect Shirley Chisholm would be mighty proud of Sarah Palin.


13 Responses to Nine Terrifying Words

  1. Jesse says:

    I really liked this post….until I got to the last few paragraphs.

  2. Allan Erickson says:

    Thanks for commenting. Can you be more specific?

  3. brizzle says:

    Wait…you’re urging me to vote for McCain to ensure the maintenance of checks and balances?


    Ronald Reagan was not a great president. Today’s current economic crisis was caused in large measure by Reagan’s policies, Reagan’s disciples (Bush, Bush, Graham), and Reagan’s massive expansion of the military-industrial complex. Maybe you’re reading Reagan’s diaries, but you’re gleaning the wrong lessons: You’re proud that Reagan recognized we needed to fix Medicare, Medicaid and SS? Of course, you know that he didn’t ACTUALLY fix any of these things…in fact, he made each of these programs worse.

    You, sir, are an idiot.

  4. Allan Erickson says:

    You are right brizzle. RR was not able to do all he wanted to do, thanks to a Dem Congress. Why is it you liberals can never have a debate without resorting to name calling and ridicule. Every time one of you LeftwingNuts comments here, especially you Huffington types, they engage wild accusations without substantiation, and immediately go for the jugular. It’s your brand of hate and intolerance that declared the culture war, and wages it to this day, to the great detriment of our country. If McCain is elected, I’d like to suggest he consider the following proposal: offer this exodus plan for all you Leftist socialist America haters—we will help you leave. We will invade Cuba, remove Castro, install Obama, ship you all there for free, give you Gitmo, and subsidize you for two years. After that, you are on your own. In this way, you all can have your island paradise, and we can be left alone to rebuild our country, in peace, and freedom.

  5. Bob Munck says:

    “you liberals can never have a debate without resorting to name calling and ridicule. Every time one of you LeftwingNuts comments here,”

    Nice use of irony.

    Seriously, Chisholm would be utterly aghast at Palin. I saw her speak once, completely without notes or teleprompter, coherent, erudite, passionate, convincing.

  6. Allan Erickson says:

    It is amazing to me how people lap up the media stew about Palin and anyone who is Christian or conservative. Why do you guys trust the massive media more than your own instincts? Palin is an all American woman, great experience, solid track record, first rate individual, wildly popular in Alaska. But I guess 500,000 Alaskans, and 150 million Americans in the lower 48 are just a bunch of idiots, eh? Anyway, seriously, Chisholm, like the president of N.O.W. in Los Angeles, would praise Palin as the real feminist. You guys just do not get it!

  7. Jesse says:

    well, i could be a bit more specific.

    here’s an example of where i am coming from.

    google searches….

    i ask you, who is cut from who’s cloth?

    i don’t see the representation of reagan by mccain in action, only in rhetoric.

  8. Allan Erickson says:

    Nancy Reagan endorses McCain. Pretty strong evidence he is cut from the Reagan cloth. Sure, he is his own man, and even opposed Reagan when he sent Marines into Lebanon. But when it comes to core values: cutting taxes, cutting spending, smaller central government, strong defense, taking a stand for goodness in the world, they are brothers. sorry to disagree with you, but can you tell me who is more like Reagan? Maybe Huckabee?

  9. Allan Erickson says:

    Gotcha. Ron Paul. Although do you think Reagan would be bashful about the war on terror?

  10. Jesse says:

    “you can’t wage war on a tactic” (i think those are ron paul’s words, either that or michael scheuer’s)

    i don’t see the strategies being employed as beneficial. i side with ron paul and others in saying that our policies have exacerbated the problem. our national security is at more risk.

  11. Allan Erickson says:

    Fair enough. We simply disagree. I’d say Al Qaeda is decimated. Taliban soon will be. Others are on notice. Khaddafi sure backed off. Iran has been going crazy since the 70s. Nothing we do pushed Kim Jung Il one way or the other. We now have a huge chance of seeing a democracy in Iraq, a country as a serious ally in the region. Our volunteer soliders and Petraeus agree going on the offensive made all the difference.

  12. Jesse says:

    yes we do.
    this issue is way too politicized. it depends on what information one is looking at.
    what is the nature of the threat? what does one sacrifice in pursuing this threat?
    what is the consequence of such actions?

    why is osama still at large? what happened with tommy franks in afghanistan?

    are we not at war with pakistan? and afghanistan? are we not overstretched?

    a lot of questions i know. but it is representative of my apprehensions about the actions being taken. i am not confident that good judgment has been the foundation around these issues that are dominating US policies in the middle east. there has not been a solution presented. i see much of these battle as continuing for some time to come. the guarantee that these battles won’t blow up in our face is hard to see.

  13. Allan Erickson says:

    Funny how our main allies have routinelyu stood with us these last seven years, most notably, Tony Blair, the Aussies, Poles, South Koreans, and now even the Germans and the French, with NATO increasingly involved in Afghanistan. Still, the Left would have us believe BUSH is only at the game for oil. Hum. Who is politicizing this thing we call national security?

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