You can imagine when I saw the Washington Times headline: “Bush Warns of Threat to Freedom, Economic growth,” I could not pass it up. The very man who spent the last eight years undermining freedom and the end of those eroding economic liberty was giving a warning about those very tyrannous acts? Well…it turns out the former president wasn’t pointing fingers at himself. Rather, he was criticizing the policies as they now stand.
Apparently, it is ok to flirt with market intervention, suppression of human freedom, and a whole host of other unconstitutional matters that plagued his presidency, but those actions better end with his presidency.
As we know, they haven’t. The Obama Administration has fallen right in line, following the path I think is best characterized as “the Bush administration on steroids.” The very market intervention Bush started Obama has perfected. The wars in the Middle East show no signs of ending. And domestic tyranny here at home is still in place, though the enemies list has additions.
You can see why I was surprised to see President Bush speak strongly about such topics on the campus of Southern Methodist University on Thursday. However, the highlights of his speech, as quoted by the article, are quite sound as he called for more economic and personal liberty.
Bush noted, "As the world recovers, we will face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much,"
He continued, "I believe that free markets open the path to opportunity, that a successful society requires personal responsibility, that freedom is universal and transformative, and that every human life has dignity and value."
Once again, his words are true and needed, but his actions in office fall far short of the mark.
So what is the problem here? How could one who claims to be for free people and free markets erode those very freedoms and make (in his own words) “the most difficult of [his] presidency, [going]against [his] free market instincts and approv[ing] a temporary government intervention to unfreeze credit and prevent a global financial catastrophe.”
The answer lies in compromise. Blind “pragmatism” trumps ideological consistency and fidelity in our public square, and freedom suffers as a consequence. Without a steady philosophical compass and a firm base of uncompromising fervor, we are doomed to fall into the same traps. Tyranny does not arise over night. It comes through erosion of the rule of law and acts of “pragmatism” that would see liberty suffer.
May it not be too late in this nation. Let us educate ourselves, bind ourselves down with the chains of the Constitution, and never compromise in our pursuit of liberty.
PS: My liberal friends, you can do this as well. Just remember it is the opposite of what Bush would do.