Given that poorer citizens always outnumber the rich, the classic political philosophers held that government based on majority rule was untenable. They were of the view that it would lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. Thus Aristotle warned in The Politics, for example: “If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city.”
The Founders of the United States were deep students of politics and history, and they shared Aristotle’s concern. Up through their time, history had shown all known democracies to be “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” James Madison and others held that the “first object of government” was to protect the rights of property. Numerous provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were incorporated to protect the property rights of citizens from the power of the government.
Whatever else might be said about him, President Obama operates on a different philosophy of government from that of the Founders. As Michelle Malkin observes, he spoke the most revealing and clarifying 10 words of his administration this week: “I think at some point you have made enough money.”
The Founders thought that at some point the government had enough power. Obama, however, is a devout believer in unlimited government. The common denominator among so-called health care reform and financial regulatory reform as well as Obama’s other big proposals is the augmented power they confer on the government in general and the executive branch in particular.
Alluding to other elements of Obama’s Quincy speech earlier this week, Michelle observes that we have a president who presumes to know when you have earned “enough,” who believes that only those who provide what he deems “good” products and services should “keep on making it,” and who has determined that the role of American entrepreneurs is not to pursue their own self-interest, but to fulfill their “core” responsibility as dutiful growers of the collective economy. Michelle concludes: “That famous mock-up poster of Obama as the creepy socialist Joker never seemed more apt.”
JOHN adds: Federal employees now are paid much more money than their counterparts in private industry. Is Obama willing to acknowledge that they earn “enough” and should forgo future pay increases? Obama himself earned more than $5 million last year. Is that “enough”? George Soros has made countless millions from currency manipulations that many regard as little better than extortion. Does he have “enough”? I suspect that “enough” will prove to be a standard that is both highly flexible and intimately related to political influence.
Most Read on Power Line
Donate to PL
Subscribe to Power Line by Email
Find us on Facebook
“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell