“The principle of distributive justice, once introduced, would not be fulfilled until the whole of society was organized in accordance ith it. This would produce a kind of society which in all essential respects would be the opposite of a free society – a society in which authority decided what the individual was to do and how he was to do it.” F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Routledge & Kegan Paul,1960
“Since it is impossible to maximize with respect to more than one point of view, it is natural, given the ethos of a democratic society, to single out that of the least advantaged and to further their long-term prospects in the best manner consistent with the equal liberties and fair opportunity.It seems that the policies in the justice of which we have the greatest confidence do at least tend in this direction in the sense that this sector of society would be worse off should they be curtailed.” John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Revised Edition, The Belknap Press, 1999
The first of those two quotations effectively summarized Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in January 1981. The second effectively summarized Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address in January 2013. Ronald Reagan was elected in a landslide vote in 1980. Barack Obama was re-elected by a slim majority in 2012. Nevertheless, a sea change has occurred in the composition and attitudes of the U.S. electorate over that period of 32 years.
To put this shift into perspective, the last presidential candidate prior to Barack Obama’s second-term bid, who chose to run from the left-wing of the Democratic Party was George McGovern in 1972. He lost in a major landslide to Richard Nixon, picking up only 38 per cent of the popular vote. Barack Obama, running on an almost identical left-wing agenda, won with 51 per cent of the popular vote.
In part, this shift in voting patterns is driven by demographics. Immigration policy has tilted for many years against Europeans and in favor of South Americans, systematically biassed against the able and the well-educated in favor of relatively under-qualified new entrants.Second it has been driven by social policies – social security, medicare, medicaid most significantly – designed to make individuals dependent on D.C.. Third, it has been influenced by a media seemingly blind to the old-fashioned American ideals of rugged individualism, desire for freedom from government, and the Protestant work ethic, and seduced by the rhetoric of socialization of all risk. Fourth, it has been aided by the cult of political correctness that insists on never calling a spade a spade when it might conceivably tilt against the Rawlsian concept of the difference principle.
The outcome, on January 21, 2013, is that a newly-elected president of the United States could get away with handing over the White House to bum square. Viewed from that perspective, Obama’s entire address was a calculated insult to the Founding Fathers, delivered only because he knew that the attending press were pattsies for a bum square program of welfare relief and immigration ‘reform’ designed to take the United States on an irreversible road to economic and moral decay.