For a lesson on the effect of Barack Obama’s destructive political philosophy, I invite you to step into the wonderful world of fantasy football.
If you are unfamiliar with my seasonal addiction, here’s what you need to know. Before the NFL season begins, fantasy football fanatics hold the all-important league draft, which is where we pick real NFL players to fill our team lineups. The key to a successful fantasy football season is to draft players who will produce on the field, because fantasy football points are based on a player’s real-world statistics on the field. And fantasy football is all about scoring points—points decide games and impact league standings.
But there is something strange going on in one of my fantasy football leagues this year. Going into week 7, a team called “Obamanators” has the lowest total points in the league but has managed to win 4 of its first 6 games—Obamanators is currently tied for second place with a 4-2 record! See my league standings below (“points for” = total points scored). What makes this even more amazing is the fact that Obamanators has been projected to lose every single game this year by an average of 19 points!
So how in the fantasy world is Obamanators winning?! The answer lies in the “points against” column. Obamanators is winning because its opposing teams are simply not producing on game day. In matchups against Obamanators, opposing teams have scored the least in the league.
The bottom line is that Obamanators has a serious deleterious effect on fantasy football production. It is winning, but not because its players are rising to the occasion. Rather, Obamanators is winning by dragging its opponents down to its mediocre level.
And this, perhaps, is one of the most fitting metaphors for the political philosophy of the real Barack Obama. You see, Barack Obama is a self-avowed progressive, and progressivism inhibits economic production. In fact, progressivism represses all kinds of productive activity.
At its core, progressivism is all about equality. Although this sounds good, it can be very dangerous. Alexis de Tocqueville explained in Democracy in America that the innate drive for equality can lead a society to two utterly disparate outcomes: “one leads men directly to independence . . . while the other leads by a longer, more hidden, but also more certain path to servitude.”
As I wrote in The American Ideology, our Founding Fathers took the course toward independence. They believed that every person is born equal before God with the same natural rights to life, liberty, and property—that government is instituted to preserve these rights, and no more. When the drive for equality is properly limited to these natural rights, the coercive force of government remains similarly restrained. The people are free to realize their fullest potential and pursue their respective paths towards happiness without government barring the way. And if they are dissatisfied by their economic condition, then they must rely on their own talents and industriousness to achieve parity with others, for they are the masters of their destiny—not some distant, centralized power. Tocqueville wrote that this “manly and legitimate passion for equality  spurs all men to wish to be strong and esteemed. This passion tends to elevate the lesser to the rank of the greater.”
A more corrupt passion for equality can have just the opposite effect, however. Tocqueville wrote that “one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.” When a nation gives in to this decadent passion to guide its governance, the idea of equality as a tenet of liberty becomes perverted into an instrument of governmental control. In this sense, equality is less about the individual guarantee of natural rights and more about the common assurance of economic parity—a utopian idea that can only be achieved if government has the power to force it on the people.
Progressives regularly exploit this depraved and unmanly passion for equality. Think of the raucous protesters of 2010 who demanded more regulations on banks outside the private homes of bank employees (bussed in by large labor unions). Think of the 2011 Occupy movement and its constant demonization of the top “1 percent.” Think of Barack Obama, who derided successful individuals in 2012, suggesting that they owed their prosperity to government. Obama said, “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. . . . If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Progressives diminish individual success while glorifying the grandeur of government because the utopian idea of economic parity can only be achieved by the direction of an omnipotent governing power. And so they ask the people to put their faith in government—to trade their liberty for the promise of total equality. In reality, the people may become more equal under progressivism, but they certainly become less free.
Just look at what progressivism has done in pursuit of this utopian dream in the last century in America. Progressives led the charge in 1913 to ratify the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, thereby granting the federal government the power to take as much money from the people (in the form of income taxes) as it desired. To some degree, this amendment gave the federal government the power to level economic conditions in America. But complete redistributive power came later, in the 1930s, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted his unconstitutional New Deal program, which allowed the federal government to spend national wealth with impunity. During this time, the federal government also began restrictively regulating any kind of activity in the nation as it so desired. These regulations grew exponentially over time and recently expanded to include the regulation of inactivity under Barack Obama’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
What do we have to show for progressivism today? We have a tax code that surpasses 67,000 pages, touches every kind of productive activity, and costs Americans at least $225 billion in compliance costs each year. We have federal regulations that exceed 163,000 pages and burden Americans with hidden taxes for compliance, totaling over $1.75 trillion each year. And we have a nanny state in the federal government that directs social welfare programs, which cost over $2 trillion each year and comprises close to 60 percent of the federal budget—more than double the government’s spending on national defense.
What we have is an authoritarian national government much like the despotic state to which Tocqueville predicted most democracies would devolve. He described this dependent state as follows:
The sovereign . . . spreads a fine mesh of uniform, minute, and complex rules, through which not even the most original minds and most vigorous souls can poke their heads above the crowd. He does not break men’s wills but softens, bends, and guides them. He seldom forces anyone to act but consistently opposes action. He does not destroy things but prevents them from coming into being. Rather than tyrannize, he inhibits, represses, saps, stifles, and stultifies, and in the end he reduces each nation to nothing but a flock of timid and industrious animals, with the government as its shepherd.
Progressivism is the cause of our nation’s current destructive course, and it’s time we turn back to the philosophy that guaranteed our liberty. It’s time we unleash the productivity of the American people in a free market economy. It’s time we crush progressivism.
And for the sake of my fantasy football league, let’s take down Obamanators too!
Visit Brian Vanyo at brianvanyo.com!
One would think from reading this that the 1% are patriots with pure hearts and that the Occupy crowd (which I’m not particularly a fan of), is “corrupt,” pure and simple. One would also think that every financially successful man is a self-made man. But the Bible tell us that we’re all corrupt, common sense tells us that government builds the infrastructure businesses need to operate (and the convention hall where Republicans held their convention this year), and even the right-wing Brookings Institution now admits that “the U.S. does not have as much mobility as most other advanced countries.” As Business Insider put it, “It is much, much harder now than it used to be for Americans to improve their circumstances.”
But black and white “thinking” is unfortunately all ideologues are capable of. The further to the Left or Right one goes, the less one is capable of actual reasoning, of grappling with facts that don’t support one’s cherished (and maligning) beliefs, of saying, “you have a point, but . . .” And so fighting against corporate welfare and for corporate accountability becomes “unmanly and depraved,” and pointing out that the government helps everyone in one way or another becomes “deriding” people. You are Righteous! Or is it self-righteous?
Ken, why do you make the assumption that, because I’m criticizing progressives for employing demagoguery and inciting class warfare, I somehow think all rich people are saints who deserve handouts from government? Sheesh. What a leap! And talk about “black and white” thinking! (If I criticize the left, then I must be a right-wing nut job.) Thank goodness we have reasonable people like you to tell it like it is! :-)
Brian, I didn’t say you think rich people deserve handouts. I noted that you, referencing a writer who was an important thinker but was hardly writing about an America two centuries hence that he had no knowledge of, said progressives are unmanly and depraved (and authoritarian and despotic). (And I noted that big corporations get welfare too, etc., and that that’s one reason progressives are progressives). That isn’t calling conservatives white, no, but it’s painting progressives as solid black.
I understand and respect and, believe it or not, share your concerns about the morally corrosive effects of egalitarianism, but your thinking here is mean-spirited fantasy because, like your ideological counterparts on the Left, you refuse to begin by looking for possible good in your opponents, and presume the worst about them without distinction. Yes, some progressives are lazy and envious. And some conservatives are tight and bigoted. If you reject the nasty stereotypes of your side, then reject the nasty ones of the other, and a few more of the others might actually listen to you. You won’t persuade them until you stop trying to “crush” them.
ummm how is it that they are dragging down their opponents? and why would that be a bad thing? in real football if a team "dragged down" their opponents offense it's called having a good defense.