Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

June 14, 2013

Obama’s Lincoln delusion

(Continued)

The left’s Lincoln kidnappers cite a draft note for a lecture he wrote circa 1854: “The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot, so well do, for themselves.” Lincoln was referring to thoroughly uncontroversial functions of government, including policing and public roads. In the same document, he writes, “In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”

He would have recoiled from Obama's Osawatomie, Kan., economic-inequality speech in 2011 portraying the rich as a clear and present danger to the middle class and our democracy. Lincoln admonished a delegation of workingmen during the Civil War: “Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself.”

Obama often boils Lincoln down to his support for infrastructure projects. Lincoln’s beloved railroads, though, genuinely represented the economic future rather than a fashionable lark like green energy and high-speed rail. Wherever they arrived, they ended the inherently limited world of substance agriculture and brought the advent of the commercial economy.

Obama can tout the transcontinental railroad all he likes, but if such a project were in the offing today, it would suffer from extravagant environmental review, lawsuits, and the same political forces that are stopping the Keystone pipeline.

Our endlessly obstructive government would presumably have been mystifying to Lincoln, as would its support of non-working able-bodied adults and its effective subsidy for social breakdown. All his efforts were geared toward independence and opportunity. “So while we do not propose any war upon capital,” he explained in New Haven, Conn., in 1860, “we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.”

If President Obama spent time communing with the true Lincoln, he might learn a thing or two about the errors of his ways.

(c) 2013 by King Features Syndicate

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