Advice to Obama: Use Loving Principles, Not Force

I’m currently living in what was once the most libertarian state in the country, New Hampshire, until tax refugees from Massachusetts moved in and promptly began to vote for the same kind of politicians that they had just fled from.

For weeks, our home has been bombarded by telephone calls and visits at our front door from Obama supporters. Each time, we politely informed them that we don’t discuss politics with strangers; but their solicitations continued unabated.

Yesterday, Election Day, when we were out for our daily walk, Obama supporters were on the road going door-to-door. They giddily asked us if we had voted yet. Our paths kept crossing as we continued our walk; the image of Bill Murray punching out the insurance salesman in Groundhog Day flashed across my mind. Not wanting to impede my spiritual progress, I quickly adjusted my focus to the beauty of the surrounding forest.

Truthfully though, I feel for these giddy Obama supporters. Many of them are sincere and their hopes will be dashed in short order. For a few years at least, no matter how bad things get, the true believer will not lose faith. As bad as the economy gets, they will believe that Obama’s actions prevented things from being even worse. And they will believe that anybody who opposes these actions is responsible for any of Obama’s failures. Eventually however, even his most ardent admirers will be forced by circumstances to examine the evidence.

I didn’t stay up to listen to Obama’s victory speech, but I read the text this morning. In his speech he said: “There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president.” Nowhere in his speech, or during his campaign, did Obama clearly articulate the principles that would guide his decision-making. Nowhere has he given the slightest indication that the U.S. Constitution will play any part in guiding his decision-making. Nowhere has he given the slightest indications that he understands and values the principles that support prosperity and liberty.

Obama has a strong personality and is one of the most charismatic politicians of modern times. Michael McMaster in his book The Intelligence Advantage writes this about this type of leadership:

Leadership without a distinct theory is merely a phenomenon of personality and will not survive the particular leader. More importantly, it will seldom have more than a temporary impact… The idea of getting from “here” to “there” without an understanding of the process and a theory from which “there” comes is a design for struggle, effort and suffering.

Rather than trying to govern by personality and inevitably by coercion and force, Obama can choose to be a true leader—one that unites people behind common principles. There is no need to invent these principles, the principles that promote liberty and prosperity have already been discovered and articulated. Claims have been made about Obama’s unusual personal brilliance; however, there is no need for that here; all that is needed is the humility to respect, honor, and be a steward of our rich heritage.

Two of the greatest political documents in the history of the planet are the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. In these documents, we find the transcendent idea that human rights are inalienable and are not granted by powers on earth and, its corollary idea, that the powers our government has are very few and defined.

These are documents that reflect loving principles, because they’re based on respect for each individual. Out of that respect comes voluntary action and not force—these are timeless guideposts to liberty and prosperity. Expect the opposite from Obama—actions based on coercion (force)—and the claim that force, in the form of higher taxes, required national service, more regulation, and diminution of personal liberties is necessary to promote the common good.

No one can blame Obama supporters for wanting a change. The Republicans have governed miserably and have indeed helped to create a disastrous mess for this country. However, substituting one unprincipled gang for another will just continue us down our path of ruin. If you want to do more than hope, study the U.S. Constitution, study the principles that promote liberty and prosperity, and insist that your elected politicians do the same.


16 Responses to Advice to Obama: Use Loving Principles, Not Force

  1. Tesh says:

    Indeed, We The People are the ultimate source of power in this government, and the ultimate source of corruption. An ignorant population will not make the best choices in electing leaders, so they will get precisely what they deserve.

    The hard part is living through the insanity. Education goes down so much smoother when it’s not at the end of a bayonet or a Depression.

  2. mhrb26 says:

    President Elect Obama is a very talented and very skillful politician, who by all accounts ran a campaign that differed greatly from the big government central planning ideas he proposes in his political platforms.

    In some ways I’m conflicted by the thought of history and the present state of affairs. I’m torn between celebrating history and the uncertainty of the next 4 years. My situation is very delicate, as I tow the line of staying true to my principles, while trying not to be a Debbie Downer for my love ones, who are overjoyed by the election of a black president. Make no mistake I’m thrilled to see the confirmation of what I already knew in terms of the invisible fence that liberals and victimcrats have placed around minorities, which told us that there were limitations on what we could do and what we could become. I’m sure the same individuals will be telling minorities four to eight years from now that Barack Obama was the except that proved the rule, that minorities still need them and government more than ever.

    My fiancée commented today that we had hit bottom and things couldn’t possibly get any worse. Without trying to start an argument, I quickly commented that things could get a lot worse, just wait until we visit some parts of the Dominican Republic during our honeymoon. I’m somewhat amazed and disappointed at the supposed lack of HOPE in some and I’m deeply troubled by how one human being is somehow the source of HOPE for so many free Americans. At this very moment there are immigrants traveling through the desert or swimming the Atlantic Ocean, attempting to discover the HOPE that was provided to us by the U.S. Constitution and the HOPE that somehow eluded us before Barack Obama restored it to us. Amazing…

    When asked about the kind of judges that he would appoint to the Supreme Court, President Elect Obama, commented that he would look for someone, who understood, what it meant to be young, a single mother, a minority or gay. While all of those positions add perspective, the single most important trait should have been someone who understood the principles of our constitution and the rules of law. One thing I’ve learned about principle is that it sees no color, nor does it have any respect of person. Simple core principles when applied to make decisions ensure that “fairness” is always met. It’s hard for this to be a principle when politicians use arbitrary numbers such as $250,000 to determine who in our country should be extorted the most for the common good.

    Hopefully the reality of our current situation will force Pres. Obama into adopting a set of principles that will allow him to govern in a fashion that brings about prosperity. I think if he looks at the way his campaign outmaneuvered its opponents while recording a record number of donations through a decentralization campaign effort, then he may find a way to grow this economy. If he wants to find a way to leave this country better than he found it, then he may want to revise his view of the constitution a bit.

    By the way I’ve been very curious about this bottom-up theory of growing the economy. Could you tell me more about it? It doesn’t make much sense to me and I don’t really remember you teaching me anything about growing the economy from the bottom up, nor can I find much on the topic when I goggled it. Thanks

  3. Tesh,

    You write: “Education goes down so much smoother when it’s not at the end of a bayonet or a Depression.” Let’s hope we see neither, but sadly I would not bet on it.


    Thank you for your brilliant analysis. I don’t mention “trickle down” or “bottom-up” economics because I don’t believe either usefully represents how an economy grows.

    An economy grows by allowing individuals at any income level the freedom to use their human energy in the most productive way possible (as long as it doesn’t coerce others). Individuals at any income level can be entrepreneurial, and can save. Such actions are the sources of future wealth.

    Forced redistribution of wealth, as opposed to voluntary giving to charities, can only on net destroy wealth. How could it be otherwise?

    Now, of course there is a related issue here—those who have become wealthy through government regulation and government bailouts. Giving them money destroys wealth too.

  4. James D. says:

    Its funny, that for all the lawyers in Congress, you’d think a few of them would take the time to read the Constitution, to at least try to understand the deep meanings behind its brilliant simplicity. Indeed, here in our society we have seen the government take advantage of people’s lack of understanding of our founding documents to take what it should not have, in terms of control, money, and use of force. But from FDR’s New Deal to Johnson’s Great Society to Bush’s Medicare Part D, both of our major parties continue to foist ever-increasing obligations onto the backs of the taxpayers. And never does anyone seem to compare this to what made this country the beacon of hope for the world. What increased our standard of living to a level that in the past only kings could have imagined? We saved our money (a lesson of the Depression, to be sure, but a good one nonetheless), we avoided debt, we were entrepreneurial, and government wasn’t taxing the middle class into poverty trying to do things for the poor they’d be much better off doing for themselves. Our government and our people have lost sight of 2 things (among many others). First, the fact that taking from those who earn to give to those who do not is immoral and unethical. Second, that it is the struggle to achieve and acquire what we want that makes us strong, both personally and as a nation economically. I could go on at length about this one, but this post has gotten long enough. The end point is that whatever Obama may say, he is still a product of the tax and spend cronyist political system which got us to where we are. We can only expect more of the same.

  5. Jim,

    See Lew Rockwell’s commentary today: Our Marxist Politics

  6. H says:

    Having started a new job with a significant commute, I too have been deeply introspective in what the historic president elect will bring.

    As you described your image of Ground Hog Day my morning image was Superman flying with his right armed raised balancing a platform with a crowd of people standing on it singing, we are saved while grasping a rope in left hand trying to pull up the grounded platform with the crowd shaking their heads saying beware of kryptonite while the villains attempt to cut the cord screaming you can not save everyone.

    One could argue that he is using loving principles since he wants country unity and prosperity for all however implementing plans that supports wealth distribution is indeed in direct conflict with not only the founding documents of our country but also the laws of attraction and intention.

    Although my conclusion was not based on economic or legal principles, I believe several recent reads are relevant to this discussion including Wayne Dyer’s Power of Intention and Gregg Braden’s The Divine Matrix as well as my continued study of A Course in Miracles. Believing in the power of intention, ether/energy and elimination of destructive ego/perceptions are the only ways to change while fulfilling wants and desires in a positive and prosperous manner.

    For those individuals that believe in the loving principles of abundance and the laws of attraction, life will not change. Because no amount of redistributed money will lessen wealth as they will find and welcome new opportunities to prosper and quickly learn how to navigate the programs. They will continue to believe I can, I choose not to be a victim and I do not need to be saved. The question will be where will I prosper? America may not be the prime location if infractions against civil liberties are occurring. They will look at other communities they can serve as these individuals will continue to volunteer and donate to charity out of love, respect and kindness for the human race and not for a tax break.

    For those individuals that believe in the scarcity theory or that they are victims of circumstance, life will not change. Because no amount of redistributed money, opportunities offered or programs implemented will be enough. There will always be a reason for I can’t and a need for a heroic caretaker. They will continue to covet the possessions of thy neighbor, forgetting the key to happiness and blaming those who have wealth for the continued inequity. Both the poverty victims and villainous greed mongers will remain embattled Americans blaming government for their misfortune and continue to wage the class wars.

    The greed mongers will continue to oppose charity because they cannot afford it due to higher taxes and will remain unhappy because of the inability to practice loving principles of abundance. They will ask the question where will I make money or rebuild my wealth? As opposed to where will I prosper? America may not be the prime location if the tax burden is too heavy or if the economy will not support their greed. While the poverty victims will remain exploited and invalidated because of their inability to believe in the power of intention, the laws of attraction and inability to recognize civil liberty infractions by the government.

    Waiting for Superman to save us all is not the answer. Obama needs to lead by example and show everyone the way to a loving principle based society. Acting as Robin Hood or the parent (referee) between fighting siblings is not the answer, because someone will always feel unfairly treated and it does not force the individuals to learn how to problem solve and live together peacefully. Society needs to look at their beliefs and how they live their lives. Accountability for actions with responsibility for the future is needed to ensure the reversal of our current economic trends as well as for the peace and safety of our country.

  7. H,

    Wow! I am fortunate to have such wise readers. I really appreciate your very astute spiritual perspective but I would disagree with “For those individuals that believe in the loving principles of abundance and the laws of attraction, life will not change. Because no amount of redistributed money will lessen wealth as they will find and welcome new opportunities to prosper and quickly learn how to navigate the programs.” While I agree that the energy of the Universe is one of “infinite supply” we live in a dualistic world where incentives do matter. Redistribution schemes choke off incentives and create less abundance for everyone. Your are correct, one does not have to view themselves as a victim but nevertheless if enough of their income is confiscated they will be poorer.

  8. Tesh says:

    Belief is not enough. Actions must match convictions. A positive attitude goes a long way, but without concurrent behavior that promotes the ideal outcome (without forcing it), it’s all just pretty oratory.

  9. Can’t you also admit that when both of your two notorious greatest documents were done Obama would have been a slave. Whie men did NOT have respect for all people nor love for all people. Now I can’t say we live in a perfect world today either and respect isn’t the highest, but at least now on some level all men and women are created equal. They may be great documents, but I think you are contradicting what they really were at that same time, not respectful, and not loving towards all people.

  10. Ninja,

    I can also admit that even today many people don’t have respect for many other people regardless of color. To Love, your fellowman, without conditions, takes a spiritual maturity that many of us don’t have. And yet, these two great political documents, have allowed for the creation of the greatest melting plot on earth.

    These documents, which are imbued in our societal DNA, have acted as lighthouses to help us our right our wrongs. Today with belief in these documents waning, and our economic and civil liberties vanishing we should all be concerned over the future.

    Hundreds of millions of human beings, especially in the 20th Century, have been murdered by governments. That our society has comparatively escaped such atrocities is a tribute to the character of the American people and these documents.

  11. Reddy says:

    In times like these it is easy to be cynical but for the first time in a long while I do feel that there is reason for optimism. America thankfully sent a resounding vote of no confidence on the Bush policies of the last eight years(the preemptive wars and the trickle down nonsense) and has an opportunity to reinvent itself under President Obama. Obama’s victory on Tuesday was not just about Barack Obama but for many people it was about keeping the American dream alive and reaffirming that America is a place where all things are possible. It is quite extraordinary to me that a few decades ago before the passage of voting rights act in 1965, the President Elect and his wife could have been denied the right to vote – but here we stand in 2008 on the cusp of making history.

    I surmise that the enthusiasm that has been on display in many quarters in response to Obama’s victory is about the reaffirmation that the American dream is alive even in these difficult times and that yes anything is possible and people can still successfully pursue and accomplish their goals in life. I think Obama understands that this is not about him at all and that there is a yearning out there not for a welfare government but for the kind of leadership that supports the efforts of those who are trying to pull themselves up. Seeing no economic benefit from the “trickle down” policies of the Bush administration the people have recognized these policies for what they are …. “being trickled on”. Obama has an opportunity to craft a new way forward with the resounding mandate given to him with tax relief policies for those most likely to benefit from it and with government that is not bigger or smaller but which is more efficient.

  12. Reddy,

    Thank you for your comments. I sincerely hope that you are proven right.

    Yet, Obama voted for the $700 billion bailout and by no stretch of the imagination could you say that the money is going toward “those who are trying to pull themselves up.”

    I wonder too if you can name one specific policy that Obama has proposed that will make government as you say “more efficient.”

    Regardless it is important to realize that government can produce nothing, it can only take from one and give to another and that game is imploding. See Charles Hugh Smith’s blog post: The U.S Family Budget.

  13. Tesh says:

    The optimism that I’ve heard of lately is more often than not a giddy sort of euphoria for picking the winning side of the “historic” election of a fellow who “would have been a slave” or who “embodies hope and change”. I still haven’t seen anyone express optimism based on the actual policies and procedures that he was ostensibly, y’know, hired for. I’ve seen partisans cheer his “calling”, and plenty of symptoms of “cult of personality” worship, but precious little substantive conversation on what he can actually do with policy that would be good for the country.

    Obama is a personable chap, no doubt. His actual policy positions, however, are potentially disastrous. The bailout bill vote, with his concurrent position on “saving housing”, are just the tip of the iceburg that he’s hellbent on steamrolling the ship of state into. The rudimentary understanding Austrian Economics (and years of math studies) that I have suggest to me that we’re walking some of the same roads that Weimar did, and that scares the snot out of me. What’s worse is that Obama (and McCain, to be fair) is content to plow ahead, oblivious to economic fundamentals. He rallies the peasants under a banner of “change”, but pitchforks and torches are “change”, too.

    We don’t need more “hope and change” flavored Kool Aid in this country, we need to wake up, start to comprehend reality, and stop playing Pollyanna. Cowpies may look prettier through rose colored glasses, but that doesn’t change their fundamental reality.

  14. Tesh,

    I am more than scared, I am terrified! Both parties are united with the hubris that they can control the uncontrollable and repeal the laws of economics. This extreme hubris can only end in disaster.

  15. ReddyEye says:

    The new administration as per its campaign platform has an opportunity to do something about government waste and plug many loopholes that currently exist. Specifically all federal contracts over $25,000 should be open to competitive bidding – many loopholes currently exist and one recent report indicates that these loopholes contribute to in excess of $40 billion in waste annually. There also opportunities to increase the efficiency of government programs through better use of technology and stronger management that demands accountability and leveraging the government’s high-volume purchasing power to get lower prices.

    As to the 700 billion bailout, I am wholeheartedly against the program as it is currently implemented. Specifically, government should not pay a cent more than market price for the assets it buys off the banks balance sheet. As Warren Buffett points out Bernanke and Paulson want to pay phantom hold to maturity prices that are above the prices at which the banks are currently valuing their assets. If taxpayer funds are going to be committed to this program(and this is a issue that can be hotly debated one way or the other) there must exist a reasonable potential for the government to make money on the funds that have been committed to these institutions.

  16. ReddyEye,

    There is no reasonable potential to make money on these bailouts. In fact there is no chance at all. How can I be so sure? If there was a chance, private investors would be buying up these bargain securities.

    Listen, don’t misunderstand me. If Obama turns out to be a president who stands up against special interests, we will be fortunate. However all the evidence is that while he may have a slightly different set of special interests then Bush did, his presidency will be more of the same.

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