A statue of Ronald Reagan was unveiled last week in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda at a time when many Republicans, and even some conservatives, think Reagan's ideas are passe. Before moving on, Republicans, and those conservatives who don't want to "live in the past," should be asked what better ideas they have to offer.
As the Obama administration and congressional Democrats move quickly with their new power to grab even more power and to build larger, more intrusive and costlier government, they -- and we -- should consider Reagan's thoughts on the "Power of the individual, rather than government power and peace through strength to keep us free." And, "Man is not free unless government is limited." And, "concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty."
As government acquires the auto industry and seeks to own health care; as it plans to take more money from the productive in order to subsidize the unproductive or less productive; as government evolves from nanny to a cruel and abusive guardian that will rob the individual of incentive and punish those who manage to succeed with crippling regulations and higher taxes, where are the champions of liberty and personal responsibility?
Instead of stories many of us heard as children about people who grew up in difficult circumstances -- alcoholic mother, abusive father, racial discrimination, physical handicaps -- and rose to self-sufficiency, even prosperity, we get messages that say you can't do it on your own and you will never amount to anything unless you place your faith in government.
"You can do it," parents tell their children as they urge them to higher levels of achievement. This sentiment used to be found in popular culture, including feel-good films that inspired people to achieve their ideals. Now we punish the successful and make the pursuit of success more difficult because of strangulating government.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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