The democrats came up with an unfortunately memorable line in this video from last night’s convention.
Referring to “belonging to” the Government provokes in libertarians like myself a kneejerk reaction of antipathy to being classified as a serf. Of course, our democrat friends did not really mean to imply that we belong to the Government, in the sense that the Government owns us and we are its slaves.
No, they meant to describe us as belonging to the Government in the way one belongs to a club or to one’s parish church, as a nice, positive communitarian sort of thing.
The problem is that clubs and even churches are voluntary associations. If I get fed up with the BPOE, if I decided that I’m not getting enough of a benefit from my annual dues to the Shenandoah Fish & Game Club or the Yale Club of New York City, I can resign. I can quit attending St. George’s Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church any time I feel like, and join the Primitive Baptists or simply stay home and sleep in on Sunday as I please.
Belonging to the Government obviously does not work that way. Back in 1969, when I received a letter headed with Greetings, and signed by Richard Nixon, I did not really have the option to leave the club. If I didn’t show up for the meeting being held at 5:30 AM at the Draft Induction Center in Mahanoy City, they would have come looking for me. It’s the same way with club dues. Americans are not able to send the IRS a letter on April 15th informing them that we’ve decided to resign our membership this year and won’t be paying any dues.
Democrats seem to differ fundamentally from the rest of us in how they look at things. Myself, I find it impossible to feel very positively about any club that conscripts me into membership whether I like it or not, and which collects its dues at bayonet point. One might paraphrase the late Groucho Marx, and say: “I don’t particularly want to be a member of any club which forces me to join and which will not allow me to skip meetings or resign.”
Mitt Romney responded: