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September 14th, 2012

Electing Santa Clause

By Nathan Tucker

Political elections are like picking Santa Claus, except that politicians, unlike St. Nick, only give away other people’s toys.  We all get in line to sit on Santa’s lap at campaign rallies and town hall events, hoping for a chance to give him our wish lists.  And all the would-be Santas assure us that only they, and not the other guy, have the magical touch to deliver our presents to us on Christmas Eve.

Just like the children in the movie Miracle on 34th Street, we write our Christmas lists to the caring, selfless Santa who sits in the Oval Office, who then immediately dispatches his elves to the rescue.  As Michelle Obama put it in her convention speech:

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political—they’re personal…

That’s the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him.

The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills…from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won’t cover her care…from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities.

I see the concern in his eyes…and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, “You won’t believe what these folks are going through, Michelle…it’s not right.  We’ve got to keep working to fix this.  We’ve got so much more to do.”

I see how those stories—our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams—I see how that’s what drives Barack Obama every single day.

And because he cares and “loves us back,” though somehow always failing to effectively deliver the goods, we will, as Santa Obama promises us, “love [him] even more.”  As Fox New’s Greg Gutfeld noted, the Democrats didn’t take God out of their platform, they just simply changed His name to Barack Obama.

The new religion in American is the god of statism.  Rather than relying on Providence, man turns to the state for his daily bread.  The only sacrifice required is suicide—the exchange of rights for handouts, liberty for domestication, responsibility for nannyism.

But as Senator Durbin recently reminded us, this new god is not a franchise of any particular political party.  Both major parties in America worship at the altar of the state, believing in its saving power for mankind.  Political elections became a religious festival of state worship in which competing gods offer us earthly salvation in return for genuflection.

So long as conservatism merely plays lip service to its principles rather than actually apply them, it can never serve as an effective alternative to statism.  So long as conservatism remains an ad hoc, knee-jerk reaction to the socialist welfare state, it moves from principled opposition to big government to a slow, hypocritical accommodation to it.

As the noted economist F. A. Hayek has pointed out, such situational conservatism:

by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving.  It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance.  It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing.  The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments…

Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people…

The progressive income tax, social security, the New Deal, Medicare, the Great Society, the Department of Education, and the EPA all stand as resounding defeats in the situational conservatives losing war against statism.  And within another ten years, the same situational conservatives will be pledging their fidelity to Obamacare (or its replacement).

Absent non-negotiable principles, a conservative simply becomes a lukewarm statist who promises the same mana from government, but without the righteous zeal of a true believer.  Conservatism can only become a viable alternative to statism if it renounces statism in all its forms and remembers that all “power corrupts” and must therefore be denied rather than desired.

Only a principled conservatism that pledges to protect man’s God-given unalienable rights rather than sacrifice them can serve as an effective check on statism.


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About the Author

Nathan W. Tucker
Nathan W. Tucker is a Davenport attorney and author of We The People: The Only Cure to Judicial Activism. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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