Matt Welch reminds us why John McCain is one of the most frightening politicians in America (if not the most frightening).
Mr. McCain’s stump speeches, as well as his five books, are chockablock with calls to elevate national greatness, collective duty and Washington rejuvenation over whatever individual roads we might be pursuing. In “Worth the Fighting For,” he wrote that “our greatness depends upon our patriotism, and our patriotism is hardly encouraged when we cannot take pride in the highest public institutions.” These institutions, Mr. McCain wrote, should “fortify the public’s allegiance to the national community.”
John McCain repudiates the ideas of our Founding Fathers. He throws out the individualism of the Declaration of Independence and admires collectivism and "national greatness" instead.
The presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party has seduced the press and the public with frank confessions of his failings, from his hard-living flyboy days to his adulterous first marriage to the Keating Five scandal. But in both legislation and rhetoric, Mr. McCain has consistently sought to restrict the very freedoms he once exercised, in the common national enterprise of “serving a cause greater than self-interest.”
Such sentiment can sound stirring coming from a lone citizen freely choosing public service. But from a potential president, Mr. McCain’s exaltation of sacrifice over the private pursuit of happiness — “I did it out of patriotism, not for profit,” he snarled to Mitt Romney during the final Republican presidential debate — reflects a worryingly militaristic view of citizenship.
“We are fast becoming a nation of alienating individualists, unwilling to put the unifying values of patriotism ahead of our narrow self-interests,” Mr. McCain warned in a speech during his 2000 presidential campaign. He added that “cynicism threatens to become a ceiling on our greatness.”
When you throw out individual rights as a standard, then you can use collectivism and "national greatness" to justify any intrusion of the state into our rights. He made the template in his assault on the First Amendment:
When people raised First Amendment objections to the law, which prohibits citizen advertisements that so much as mention a federal candidate’s name within 60 days of an election, Mr. McCain responded, “I would rather have a clean government than one where quote ‘First Amendment rights’ are being respected that has become corrupt.” When the Supreme Court questioned the law’s constitutionality, he complained in a legal brief that ads were targeting “candidates in close contests — and almost invariably in a partisan manner.”
With this reasoning McCain could find justification for any expansion of the state; the only limits to his power lust will lie in two things I can think of. First, what Americans will still resist from a fading culture of individualism that is the last glow of our Enlightenment heritage. But as public education dumbs down America, and the welfare state saps our self-reliance, our tattered, disintegrating traditions and sense of life can't be much of a defense against a committed statist like McCain.
The second factor is the way our federal government works. With the balance of powers, it seems to have been designed to resist revolutionary change. Big changes come slow in America. For a century the liberals have, except for moments such as FDR's first 100 days, had to resort to gradualism in erecting the welfare state. This can be frustrating for those of us who want to roll back the welfare state yesterday, but it also provides the sturdiest bulwark against tyranny coming tomorrow.
But how fast might statists destroy freedom in a great crisis? Federalism should buy us some time, but maybe not.
As the Democrat candidates destroy themselves with their multiculti/politics of identity squabbling, leftist ideology and hopeless inadequacies, it looks more likely that McCain will be the next President of the United States of America. The blood chills.