Mitt Romney has hit a nerve. The mainstream media are indignant and downright apoplectic over Romney’s “47 percent” comment. But as Eric Hoffer once observed, “we are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.”
In fact, the Obama administration’s long term strategy is to create a permanent class of federally dependent citizens tipping over 50 percent in order to suffocate the very atmosphere that gives life to intellectual and political diversity in America. As James Madison said, there are “two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.”
But James Madison wasn’t alone in his belief that the presence of an overwhelming government would stifle the freedom which serves as a prerequisite for individuality and creativity. An impressive short list of some of history’s most penetrating and influential thinkers all agreed — for all their differences — on the same basic premise: the long and painful process of individual self-mastery and character development could only flourish in an authoritarian-free environment.
For example, one can’t fail to notice that Gandhi has always been championed by the left as an enlightened progressive. But in fact Gandhi was as conservative as Mitt Romney in his deep conviction regarding the status of freedom, self-respect, and individuality in the shadow of the ever-threatening welfare state. In his Collected Works Gandhi said the following in 1947:
“The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the state is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence. Hence I prefer the doctrine of trusteeship.”
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