Friday, March 28, 2008

How far we've come

This story is a little example of why it's hard to hold out hope for that republic Ben Franklin mentioned.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama on Monday promised Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans help with their grievances — save one. "I know it drives you nuts. But I'm not going to lower the drinking age," the presidential candidate said.

Army veteran Ernest Johnson, 23, of Connecticut, said one of the things that peeved him before he turned 21 was that he couldn't come home and drink a beer — even though he was old enough to serve in the armed services and die for his country.

Obama told Johnson he sympathized, but that setting the legal drinking age at 21 had helped reduce drunken driving incidents and should remain.
Look at the assumptions behind that simple little exchange:

1. The government should have the power to dictate at what age a person may drink an alcoholic beverage.

2. This power is properly exercised at the federal level.

3. The president has the authority to raise or lower the drinking age on his own ("I'm" not going to lower the drinking age).

4. Because some people irresponsibly operate motor vehicles after drinking to excess, the government must regulate all drinking of alcoholic beverages.

No doubt there are several deeper assumptions that I'm missing.

The question to Franklin was, "Well, doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?" Implicit in the way Obama answered the question is that he believes he's running for king — and nothing in the past several decades of American experience gives him pause to believe he's wrong.

I don't relay this to make you afraid of a President Obama — the trouble with the U.S. government is more intrinsic than the identity of the elected dictator. I'm just pointing out how hard-wired the situation is. The presidential candidacy of Ron Paul failed to gain much traction in part because the concepts he voiced are so foreign to the average American's ears — not to mention so threatening to the status quo.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home