Sorry Obama, We Aren’t Family

“My fellow Americans,” Obama said at the close of last night’s State of the Union, “we too are a strong, tight-knit family,” It’s not unusual for politicians to invoke folksy metaphors of this kind, but in this case it just about sums up Obama’s worldview.

According to the president, Americans are not independent individuals who should be free to pursue their own diverse goals and values. Instead “we are one people” who should rally around a “sense of common purpose.” What purpose? No answer. Who should decide that purpose? That much was abundantly clear.

For Obama, the government’s role is to set our goals, determine our priorities, and centrally plan our lives so that we achieve these priorities.

How should we improve the country? By having the government provide us with energy, education, health care, broadband, childcare, infrastructure, sick leave, and higher wages; and by having it tax and regulate “the superrich,” especially if they happen to be in the financial industry, all of which will somehow “[build] the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.”

Without the mawkish sentiments about “family” and the pseudo-aspirational collectivist jargon, Obama’s agenda comes down to taking a bunch of money from us, directing it to purposes he thinks we should value, and using the power of government to coerce individuals and businesses to act in the way he thinks they should act.

If America is a family, then Americans are a bunch of children, and we need to subordinate our goals and priorities to Dad.

Is that really a worldview consistent with the founding ideals?