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Commentary from the Free Enterprise Foundation, Issue #08-6-- More Thought Provoking Commentary!
March 11, 2008
You are invited to read the latest commentary from the Free Enterprise Foundation. It will make you think!
By Robert E. Freer, Jr., President of The Free Enterprise Foundation
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
All but the youngest of us are familiar with Walt Disney’s brilliant adaption of Goethe’s poem, Der Zauberlehrling, known to generations of Americans in musical form as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. For those of you who have missed this classic, it can be seen on You Tube by going to Google and entering “Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and selecting it.
Created with a score by Paul Dukas in 1940, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice relates the tale of a very bright young wizard’s apprentice who mimics his mentor by conjuring broom and buckets to carry out his own task of getting water for the wizard who has conveniently left the premises. While initially giving the apprentice a rush, as ,with great effort, he gets the broom and buckets to do his bidding, his joy is, in time, turned to horror and disaster as he is unable to control the animated broom, soon to be brooms, and the animated buckets soon to be replicated a hundred fold when they run totally amuck. There is water everywhere; so much water in fact and so many brooms and buckets that he is threatened with drowning until the wizard re-appears and within short order restores all to its proper absence of chaos and flood.
Recently in preparation for this article, I have spent a great deal of time reading Obama policy and program proposals and listening to replay’s of his speeches. Truly, Senator Obama is exceptionally bright. His considerable accomplishments are both examples of his own abilities and how far American society has advanced to assure all our citizens of our founders’ vision of equal opportunity for all and advancement through merit.
Brains, and charm alone, however are not enough to warrant turning over the management of our government to someone who has yet to show he has the requisite wisdom borne of life’s experiences to warrant our trust. When I view his speeches, and as I read the materials, I just can’t get the vision of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the Disney /Dukas music out of my mind.
Look at this nice young man and his enthusiasm, his promises that we but listen to him and all will be fine. I have and found that he says the planet is in peril, most of us are working harder for less; NAFTA was a bad idea; Washington is totally a reflection of the lobbyists he alleges control it. We were lead into war by fear and (Republican) falsehood. He alleges also that the majority of us are the victims of the wealthiest among us who can and should be made to pay (substantially) more of their income to government to even out society’s benefits and relieve the pain of life’s (Republican) inequities.
In, sum despite a non-partisan rhetoric, both his program and his voting record distort the history of the past several decades and confirm the same old big, maybe even “BIG” , government “solution” of a nanny state that will take from those of affluence and give to those with less on a belief that government can do a better job of it than free markets. His views on foreign policy seem akin to raising the drawbridge to the outside world and relying on Mr. Pacific and Mrs. Atlantic to insulate us from the hordes that increasingly threaten Europe and its culture.
Now, I sure don’t have any argument with what he says regarding being governed by principle and a higher purpose, but when all he offers is the rehashed and discredited policies of an earlier era, I question whether now is the time to take off his Senate training wheels and loose him on us and the rest of the world. Retreating to New Deal or even New Frontier notions of what government is all about, will not provide the quickness of foot to navigate among the rapidly shifting economic and political waters of the 21st century. Only truly free markets can do that. Hampered by government, we will fall behind with an eroding index of productivity. Like former President Kennedy, whose lofty rhetoric gave us words to live by, I doubt that Senator Obama through increased government bureaucracy, cost and red tape will be equal to leading us in actions that match the words.
I have written over the past few years on many of the issues that confront us as a nation. While I am a conservative, none of the suggestions is a knee jerk partisan solution. They are American suggestions offering American free market oriented solutions for what uniquely faces us as a nation. There are ways to remove from the tax roles at lowered government cost whole segments of our population at the lower end of the income scales, improve the availability of medical care to all, secure our borders, keep our armed forces strong and educate a workforce for the age that is and the age that is to come.
As we adjust to the changing world, we cannot do all that confronts us without a national dialogue to sharpen up our planning. I hope that Senator Obama, if as expected, he becomes the nominee of the Democratic Party and our liberal media, he will not be merely crowned by the drum beat of their ardor but that the country will be treated to a broad discourse on the starkly different views on what the road to the future should look like.
Should our individual creativity and initiative be encouraged or should we adopt policies that will adversely impact on our freedom and our productivity? Part of the problem with NAFTA, as one example, has been our own failure to adjust internally to the market forces within the US that have been changed as a result. NAFTA, itself is not so much the problem as our failure as a society to anticipate what is needed for those who have been adversely affected to transition to meet today’s market. As we contemplate further evolutionary actions to solve our energy, health care, social security and other significant challenges, serious consideration of assistance to those industries that will be adversely affected needs to be considered. While not favoring big government intrusion, it seems sensible that market dislocation caused by government initiatives that may be necessary to get the ball rolling to solve some of our most pressing problems, requires society as a whole to assist in the transformation at its initiation. We don’t need a wizard. We need to believe in ourselves and the power of our own efforts together to find the best mix of government and the private sector to fashion solutions consistent with our tradition of liberty and free enterprise.
Copyright © 2007 by Robert E. Freer, Jr. All rights reserved
About the author: Robert E. Freer, Jr. is President of The Free Enterprise Foundation. He is a Visiting Professor, at The Citadel and elected in 2005 to be their first John S. Grinalds Leader in Residence. A regular contributor to the Mercury, He can be reached by E-mail at The Citadel . Copies of his earlier columns can be found The Free Enterprise Foundation.
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