Mid-April seems like an odd confluence of events. Not only is Tax Day upon us, but it also marks the annual commemoration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, known as Patriots’ Day. The stark contrast between the two is an annual reminder of the ongoing struggle between two opposing forces—one which seeks to relish, in an ever-increasing way, the dominion it has over how we live our lives, either by substituting its judgment for that of our own or by thinking it can spend our money better than we can.
The other force, of course, is freedom. The freedom to live our lives in a manner in which we choose, the very essence of what makes this nation an exceptional one.
And like the confluence of two opposing holidays, there are other events, other circumstances which seem to underline these opposing factors in deeper contrast. The ongoing struggle for a rational public lands policy, which came to a head most recently in Nevada with the Bundy Ranch, and the choice of federal officials to offer the appearance of a resolution, when what they’re really doing is moving the controversy behind closed doors (almost certainly to the detriment of the Bundys). While this administration promised to be the most transparent in American history, it has, as we all know, been anything but.
By taking the Bundy Ranch case back into administrative and judicial spheres, they take it out of the public eye, putting the Bundys right where they want them—at the mercy of the bureaucracy, and without the ability of the general public to show its support for their family, which is, of course, precisely what the left wants.
Or take the ongoing erosion of American strength on the world stage. While the administration stays focused on how to increase federal intrusiveness into our private lives, they are unable to respond with any effectiveness to multiple challenges abroad. The lack of a strong response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea gave Russia just the kind of tacit permission it needed to flex its expansionist muscles throughout Eastern Europe. With the foreign policy of the US being only a shadow of its former self, Russia has no reason to even think twice about pushing into Eastern Ukraine.
It may be that this is precisely what they had in mind, though. After all, the President’s belief is that America is not an exceptional nation—or, at the very least, that it is one exceptional nation among others (which kind of turns the very definition of exceptionalism on its head).
One area in which the US could show some strength is on trade policy—especially when it comes to pushing back against the cronyism of other nations. Other nations, with governments actively colluding with corporate interests in order to massively subsidize their efforts, serve to undermine US economic power. And yet this administration (engaging in crony capitalism of its own), seeks to further erode these economic interests by doing what it can to put US companies at a competitive disadvantage: running up regulatory costs, labor costs, energy costs.
Free trade works, and our efforts to promote US interests abroad should be based on this precept. We should be using what remaining power we have to promote a system in which no country uses cronyism to a competitive advantage—and that we, as a nation, will not unilaterally disarm when it comes to trade until they do. This “zero-for-zero” policy is a clear step in that direction.
Patriots’ Day reminds us of the principles upon which this nation was built. It also serves as a reminder as to the erosion of those principles by those in power. In order for America to remain strong, both here and on the world stage, we have to ensure that our industries remain competitive. We must not, cannot disarm. We must act.