John C. Goodman

James Bond movies don't count. Those are the Brits. Hollywood just doesn't like it when American agents do the same things that James Bond does. The only film I can remember that even tries to give the CIA a fair shake would be Zero Dark Thirty, about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Yet even in that movie I suspect few people left the theater feeling proud to be an American.

Of course, when we are talking about Barack Obama's CIA, the left goes schizophrenic. On the one hand their natural inclination is to defend (or apologize for) just about anything this administration does. On the other hand, few of them view the CIA as an agency that a truly liberal government would even allow. This has been a bad week over at MSNBC.

Hollywood's treatment of the intelligence services isn't that much different from its treatment of the armed services. When is the last time a movie portrayed American soldiers as good guys liberating people around the world? The Green Berets? Before that, you probably have to go back to World War II.

Of course, our guys looked good in Saving Private Ryan, but that movie was about World War II.

I think we're on a roll here, so let's continue. When is the last time you saw a Hollywood movie in which policemen were the good guys? I'm not talking about investigation shows like CSI. I'm talking about shows where guys go out on the beat and protect ordinary citizens from criminals. Dirty Harry? That was almost a half century ago, and even then it was condemned as a fascist movie.

Think about how much good the police do — especially for families who could never afford private security guards to protect themselves? Now think about how much harm the welfare state does. When is the last time you saw a movie in which representatives of the welfare state are portrayed as the bad guys? The last one I remember was A Thousand Clowns. But that was also about 50 years ago.

Here is the pattern that is emerging: The police, the army, and the intelligence services are the parts of government that are engaged in protecting our rights, at least that is the justification for their existence. Just about everything else the government does involves violating our rights.

When it comes right down to it, the left doesn't believe in individual rights. It wants government to do "good things." But rights stand in the way of doing good things.

The right to pursue your own happiness, for example, is nothing more than the right to be selfish in the standard liberal sociology. The institutions designed to protect rights — the police, the army and the intelligence services — are therefore designed to protect your right to be selfish.

The left has no sympathy for institutionalized selfishness unless it is their own selfishness that needs protecting (as reflected in freedom of speech and freedom of press). And unless they are defending Barack Obama.

John C. Goodman

John C. Goodman is President of the Goodman Institute and Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute. His books include the widely acclaimed A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America and the award-winning Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts.”