Bush’s View of Rights
Rarely can you find a more wrongheaded column than Ronald Brownstein’s “A Clash of Personal Freedom and Common Good” (May 5). He writes: “Bush’s tax cuts, for instance, put more income back in individual pockets, but at the price of eviscerating government revenues that support activities society can undertake only collectively -- from providing a social safety net to building roads and schools.” President Bush’s tax cut for fiscal 2004 is about $80 billion; his budget is $2,230 billion. Eviscerating? Gee whiz, can’t the Congress find a few bucks for schools and roads in there?
Brownstein then tops that one with: “Bush ... rejected the Kyoto treaty because he said it threatened the U.S. economy. Neither then, nor since, has his administration appeared much concerned about the effect of such an unequivocal American withdrawal on efforts to forge a common worldwide response to the problem of global warming.”
The U.S. Senate voted 95 to 0 against the Kyoto accord in a nonbinding resolution in 1997 because the world’s biggest polluters, China and India, were excluded. There is no real reason to believe that the measures would be effective, and the U.S. would bear a disproportionate burden in reducing pollution.
I have never understood, with the clarity presented by Brownstein, the consistent, never-wavering philosophy of Bush to endorse individual rights, even when this might be in conflict with the common good. It is easy to parrot a cliche (such as “Bush favors personal freedom over government regulation”), but to understand the meaning of that cliche and how that might put Bush in conflict with Europe and, in fact, much of the rest of the world, has never been presented in a more lucid form than in this column.
Thank God we have a president who values personal freedom over the common good. Obviously Brownstein thinks that’s a bad idea. Personal freedom is what’s best for the common good, and the personal freedom we enjoy in the U.S. has made us the greatest nation the world has ever known. Bush believes in freedom. Brownstein and his ilk do not and seek to take it away.