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John Stossel
John Stossel
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Did Freedom Win?

Comment

Democrats won big last week. So government will continue to grow. Individual freedom will yield.

At least some people with records of supporting liberty were elected: Sen. Jeff Flake in Arizona and U.S. Reps. Justin Amash and Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan and Thomas Massie in Kentucky.

Also, Washington and Colorado voted to allow any adult to use marijuana. (But users beware. Your newfound freedom may be short-lived thanks to that extraordinary human being in the White House — you know, the one who smoked pot when he was in school. Despite promising that he wouldn't, he has cracked down on pot dispensaries far more often than President Bush did.)

And voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington said yes to gay marriage; Minnesota defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed it.

That's the good news. But overall, the results were bad for freedom. As P.J. O'Rourke says, we need to "fix" government. By that, we mean "fixing" government the way we neuter a cat or spay a dog.

When it comes to foreign policy, we must teach our politicians to stop making messes in other people's yards. At home, they should stay out of our bedrooms.

Term limits would be good. When we give politicians power, they should know they don't get to keep it forever. They have to bring that power right back to us and drop it at our feet. "Good boy. Now go back outside!"

Sadly, President Obama's swooning fans don't want to tame politicians. They don't even seem to think much about freedom. We attended Obama's victory party in Chicago (we go so you don't have to) and asked his supporters what Obama's reelection means for freedom. People reacted as if they didn't understand the question.

"Freedom?" one asked.

"Um, yes, I have no idea," said another.

It's not on their radar, and that's upsetting. Some wouldn't know freedom if they fell over it. To many, "freedom" means getting the government to force women's employers to pay for birth control.

Sorry, that's not freedom. That's force.

Obama's supporters seem to think it's enough to put this extraordinary man in office.

After that, he will take care of everything. Spare us the details.

"Obama is a classic example of this cult of the presidency," said David Boaz of the Cato Institute. "But the idea that any politician can just fix the problems in society — that there's some magic there — that doesn't start with Obama. It goes a long way back."

Leader-worship is unbecoming a free people. But are we a free people today? I mean psychologically. Years of government impositions change people. At Obama's celebration, people didn't mention freedom, but they sure mentioned handouts, like taxpayer-financed higher education. It's as if their attitude is: What can government give me? They don't realize that "free stuff" only seems free because the real cost is hidden.

"When you have a $3.6 trillion federal government, that money will absolutely benefit some businesses. That's crony capitalism. It takes money from all of us and gives it to some," said Boaz. "Maybe a clean-energy or green-jobs company that has not already gone bankrupt might get that money. Similarly, if you're a defense contractor, you'd be in favor of Mitt Romney getting elected, because that would be good for your business. But it's all bad for the American economy to tax some people and then dole the money back out."

My hope for now: gridlock. People say they like bipartisanship, but bipartisanship usually means politicians conspire to take more of our money and freedom. Bipartisanship gave us the Department of Homeland Security, TSA, PATRIOT Act, Import-Export Bank, war on drug users, ethanol subsides, TARP, No Child Left Behind, foreign wars and an ever-rising debt. When Democrats and Republicans come together, they put us deeper in debt.

Let's have some gridlock!

The outcome of this election is a sea of government with a few islands of freedom. Gay people are freer in a few states, and marijuana consumers in a couple more. But sadly, most of us will be victims of the ever-growing government spider web of higher taxes and freedom-killing rules.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at www.johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

8 Comments | Post Comment
Not everyone who disagrees with you is stupid or immoral. The ability to agree to disagree in a civil manner is essential to any social relationship. An endorsement of gridlock when there is work to be done and problems to be addresse is irresponsible. It reminds me of the child who takes his ball and goes home because he isn't getting his way. A mature adult needs to send him back out after telling him to behave. I can see how this carefully designed experiment on ElectionDay proves irrefutably that Democrats not only do not love freedom, these by definition unpatriotic Americans don't even know what it is. You interrupt someone during a late night jubilation and ask a essay question out of left field. All that proves is that either the desire or the ability to develop valid data was lacking. You need to try harder if you want to be credible.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Allison Kay
Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:00 PM
Allison --

Those who would use force on others to get them to behave in ways that they cannot convince them to behave voluntarily are indeed immoral. It is unfortunate that they aren't more stupid, because then they might be less successful at employing the gross coercive power of the state.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Nickolaus Mueller
Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:07 AM
Only time will tell what the re-election of Obama will bring. I have friends who believe that it doesn't matter who is elected, that nothing will really change in America. I have other friends who believe that the next four years will bring devestation and even revolution to America. What ever happens or doesn't happen, the apathy and the fear, are both due to a federal government ignoring the ideals of, individual rights and responsibilities. This did not start with Obama, but it will be up to the people if it stops with him. The people of Germany and Austria made the wrong choice. I wonder if the American people will?
Comment: #3
Posted by: Jack Boyd
Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:25 AM
I think Stossel is right on the money here. His libertarian principles just make so much sense. And Jack, I think you are right. Obama didn't start this mess, but its grown faster under his watch than anyone elses.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:29 AM
Freedom - We the People have less,
So say some folks, blaming big gov,
Getting in the way of progress -
Still can't marry the tree we love.
Europeans came to this land,
Seeking a new world to be free.
When natives would not understand,
Death was their freedom - doncha see!
From Africa, the slaves were brought
For the free Europeans' biz.
For freedom, slaves were sold and bought.
Founding fathers said freedom is.

We have less freedom now, some say.
Less than just who from early day?
Comment: #5
Posted by: Ima Ryma
Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:45 PM
People don't appear to truly want freedom. Every American alive today has experienced varying levels of entrenched institutionalization. The younger ones and those from certain demographics more so. This has resulted in a preternatural and insidious collective fear of individual freedom. All the politicians need to do is stoke the fire of that fear in the masses and herd them like cattle. Fear is the mind killer. Complacency is akin to a slow death from chronic illness. Keep waking people up John! You had an effect on me and I appreciate it.
Comment: #6
Posted by:
Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:15 AM
I agree with you John on some of your major points. I think freedom took a bit of a beating last week. But the one thing that really got me going was your suggestion of term limits. It's a love/hate thing I have with them. On it's face, I just hate the concept of term limits. The electorate should be smart enough to make sound choices about who will represent them in the various branches of government. Of course, the key word there is "should". You've been around the streets of NYC and you've seen what the average Joe or Jane on the street knows, or more likely, doesn't know. I find it amazing that people have no clue who people like John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or John Roberts is. Yeah, in NYC they may know who Andrew Cuomo is, or even Michael Bloomberg, but work your way down the ranks after that and the knowledge base gets really shakey really fast. But it's folks like Pelosi, Reid and Boehner that are the ones that are making the decisions that affect peoples lives, and they have no clue as to what they are doing or what part they play. Heaven forbid you should even ask them a simple question, like what state is on the west bank of the Hudson River across from NYC. Of course, the main concern with educating the electorate then becomes, how does this condition get changed? Well, I think we both know that they are in fact getting educated, they are getting an education from the school of Marx. If it were Groucho Marx, it wouldn't be so bad, but it's really Karl Marx. And who's giving it to them? The New York Times, the Associated Press, etc. So, in light of the fact that there are so many people out there in big places like NYC that are just getting inundated with information with a very left leaning perspective on things, then I would have to agree with you about having term limits. At the moment, while I'm still shaking my head over the results of the election and that apparently Obama is the Big Cheese for another four years, I'm at least thankful that he will most likely only be there for another four years. That is, unless he gets really greedy and takes what's left of a completely shredded Constitution and says that he's going to run again in 2016 for a two year term. But I guess we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it, now won't we.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Tom Mulligan
Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:49 PM
Re: Allison Kay Dear Allison, I happen to agree with Stossel. If we could manage to have complete gridlock for about 20 years we might have society catch up to the size of the Federal Government. We currently have approximately 305,000 laws, rules, and regulations, that carry criminal penalties. When you talk about things which need to get done, I fear that all of these things, you imagine, will be solved if only the Federal Government could enact more rules and regulations.
If everything with the Federal Government stayed exactly like it is, gridlock, for about 20 years, the population would continue to grow, producing more income for the GDP, revenues for the government, and the government would become a smaller relative to the size of the country. This would put things back into the proper proportion without the painful spending cuts. Furthermore, everyone would be able to plan their future with the confidence that things would remain predictable for the sometime into the future. Gridlock would be a very good thing.
Comment: #8
Posted by: JSteale
Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:37 PM
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