Political wives Michelle Obama and Jeannie Ritter, the wife of Colorado’s Governor, wrote a Guest Commentary about “serving others” as being the American way. They echo Barack Obama’s directive, “I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.”
Well, who is my big brother? Are we as Americans supposed to sit around while others “serve” us? Who pays the rent while we run around volunteering? What if I decide to define myself as “needy” and demand that others give me what I lack?
In fact, I think I’m going to quit my job and become needy so that rich liberals can serve me and feel good about themselves. (Drum roll and trumpets, please) I hereby heroically declare it my duty as a good and brave citizen to allow others the privilege of fulfilling their “American Way” by serving MOI! Gee, I feel really good about this….Now give me your money!!
All sarcasm aside, Obama’s and Ritter’s pernicious underlying message is this: that altruism should be one’s primary purpose and responsibility in life, and that it is immoral to be left free to live one’s life as an end in itself.
I’ve got news for the followers of this mandate: serving others out of altruism is not what made this country great. Our country is distinguished by the concept of freedom: freedom to pursue one’s own life, goals, rational self-interest, relationships, and happiness. (Why the hell would millions leave everything behind in their dictatorial or poverty-infested countries to come to America?!)
Giving to a cause should be a secondary choice based on one’s own values. It should not be a duty imposed by cultural pressure or law. The fact that Americans do volunteer and donate billions to various non-profits or community groups speaks of the generosity of Americans. It is a result of a natural benevolence that emerges when people are left free to choose their life path and relationships with others.
The alternative of “good equaling sacrifice” versus “bad equaling self-interest” is utterly fallacious. It disavows our nature as human beings. It ignores the historical fact that people pursuing their values without preventing others from doing the same leads to wealth, a higher standard of living and a healthier society.
The liberals are evading the natural consequence of their credo. Just look at the past horrors of regimes demanding sacrifice for the “people” or for the “state” (Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany) or sacrifice for God (Afghanistan under the Taliban).
We must reject the evil idea of altruism. A government that tells us we are responsible for the happiness and health of others is a government that will control us.
Whoever is my keeper is my master.