July 30, 2004 -- For those of you who missed John Kerry's acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination, you are certainly better off than those of us who, for professional reasons, must suffer through such stuff. Here are a few things you missed.

In several cases, Kerry seemed to be making jokes that he assumed his audience, with self-induced attention deficit disorder, would never pick up on. For example, he began by stating that President Bush misled us into war—despite the fact that Kerry, Clinton, and everyone else believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, based on the same now-known-to-be-flawed intelligence. After calling Bush a liar to begin his speech, he ended it by asking Bush to run a civil campaign: "Let's respect one another." Very funny, John! Also amusing was Kerry, nominee of the Democratic Party—the party that believes judges should act as social engineers, ignoring the law in order to foist on us their own crackpot beliefs

about entitlements and the like—pledging to appoint an attorney general who "will uphold the Constitution."

To amuse myself during the speech, I thought I'd note every time when Kerry advocated a collectivist policy, proceeded from a collectivist premise, or offered anti-individualist proposals or arguments. I got writer's cramp by the middle of his remarks. But since we should listen to politicians with the ears of individualists, here are some highlights.
Kerry spoke of the need to "restore America's respect and leadership so that we don't have to go it alone in the world." Pure collectivism! Why the hell should we give a damn, fundamentally, about what others think of America? Yes, our government should work with other countries for our peace and security, and, yes, we (but not Kerry) want free trade with other countries. But most other governments and peoples do not share our general love of freedom. Western Europe suffers from the paternalistic mindset, socialist policies, and moral relativism favored by Kerry, and the rest of the world is not even in our league. Then, after stating that we should suck up to foreign political elites, Kerry pledged, "I will never give any nation or any institution a veto over our national security." His audience of idiots didn't get that joke.
Kerry says he will not privatize social security. Translation: He promises to continue to take your money and mine, against our wills, assuming we're too stupid to save for our own retirements, and put it into a government Ponzi scheme when we could get three or four times the amount of money for retirement from an IRA or 401K.
Kerry said that health care is a right. Sorry John, it is not. I do not owe it to my neighbor to pay his medical bills. The reason health care costs are so high is because of the mismanagement of the market by government through Medicare and Medicaid; the reason the service is so poor is because of the HMOs created by your buddy Sen. Edward Kennedy; and the reason doctors are retiring early is because insurance rates are through the roof thanks to predatory ambulance-chasers like your running mate Sen. John Edwards. Kerry's going to make sure that all hospitals and doctor’s offices run like your local motor vehicle administration.
Kerry said that "it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families." He then assumed that daddies and mommies are too stupid to raise those families, and maintained that government should take the assets of productive people so that Kerry and his fellow philosopher kings can spend it to take care of we poor peasants. Naturally, he said he'd expand all of the usual failed government programs.
Kerry said that "Americans have always reached for the impossible," but, like any collectivist, he kept mixing up the "we," "you," and "I." For example, the Wright brothers who invented the airplane were not a "we." They were individuals free of government regulations and subsidies. And "we" didn't create the personal computer revolution. Individual entrepreneurs whom the government had not gotten around to regulating did. The lesson, John, is, "Leave us alone!"
The measure of a free country is, obviously, how free its individuals are—that is, to what extent government sticks to the job of protecting individual liberty rather than running individual lives. We must never become complacent and must keep our sense of outrage when we hear politicians calling for restrictions on our freedoms, just as we should express our appreciation for a job well done when they protect them. Whether President Bush will do better in his acceptance speech is yet to be determined, but we should hold all politicians to the same standard, a standard that puts the individual first. 

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Edward Hudgins

About The Author:

Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.

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