Burning Down the Neighborhood – With the Very Best Of Intentions

Picture this scenario. Your neighbor has accidentally started a fire in his yard. It’s a small blaze, and he should be able to extinguish it with a garden hose. You return to your hedge trimming when something he does catches the corner of your eye. He’s actually shoveling coal onto the fire, which now is not as small as it was a few minutes ago. As the fire begins to ignite the new fuel, he redoubles his efforts, adding even more coal. Mildly alarmed, you ask him what he’s doing. His reply is that he believes it’s possible to smother out a fire using coal. Sweat is dripping from his furrowed brow, as he pauses only long enough to reply to your annoying question before tossing another couple spadesful of coal onto the growing blaze.

At this point the fire is feeding off the added coal and growing larger and hotter, and beginning to spread in your direction. You yell at him to stop, to use another method to get the blaze under control. He stubbornly replies that he knows what he’s doing, and that all he needs is to get enough coal on top of the blaze to choke it out. Yet the more fuel he throws on the fire, the more the fire grows proportionally to consume it. By now he is shoveling maniacally, as flames lick at the corner of his house. His garage is already starting to burn. As the fire scorches your hedge, you recoil from the heat. The side of his house becomes engulfed, and within twenty minutes half the neighborhood is burning to the ground…..including your place.

When larger forces eventually intervene and extinguish the fire, he is confronted by angry, homeless neighbors who want an explanation of his method for dealing with the fire that has so decimated their lives. “I assure you all, I had the best of intentions!” is his weak reply to the glowering mob.

That scenario is an allegory for this election cycle. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history, with enormous consequences looming.

Our wrong-thinking President and his Liberal henchmen have blasted our economy, our governmental foundations, our culture and our national security through indescribably profligate bad ideas writ large as government policy.

Their response? “We had the best of intentions. We own the moral high ground. The other side doesn’t care about people.” All this in the face of overwhelming evidence that such policies have crippled a once-great nation, broadened the misery index and put more people’s futures in jeopardy than any point in our history. Their rallying cry is “More, more!”, like that crazy neighbor throwing coal on his fire.

Here’s the rub: ideas have consequences. When ideas are put into practice through policy or law, there is a direct, measurable impact on people’s lives. Consequences are the facts of our actions.

The other night on Hardball, fanatical leftist host Chris Matthews challenged Newt Gingrich’s reference to Obama as “the Food Stamp President” as being covertly racist, a favorite Liberal red herring. Gingrich replied that it was simply a statistical fact that more Americans of every ethnicity have gone onto food stamp relief under the Obama administration than at any time in our history. He emphasized that more Americans are dependent upon some form of government assistance now than ever before. Matthews’ comeback to Gingrich was a falsely incredulous “You believe people actually want to be dependent on government?” Newt didn’t fall for the bait, but the rest of us know what the answer is.

We live in the Age of Entitlement, another bad idea that has only gotten more widespread and damaging as Liberal policies have institutionalized it, expanding its funding and broadly defining new categories of dependency. This fire of entitlement is rapidly burning down one western economy after another in Europe. The catastrophic consequences are showing, yet the Liberals keep on heaping more denial onto that fire. They have established people’s “rights” to things like universal healthcare, subsidized or free housing, fuel assistance, free food, free cell phones, free education, and a myriad of other entitlements, without also establishing ANY personal responsibility to attempt to secure those things through their own efforts. Then they claim that those who actually produce wealth and jobs in the economy are to blame for such dependency.

Our borders are unsecured, thanks to the wrong idea that everyone has a “right” to come to America under any circumstances. The State of Florida just had to fend off U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s assault on their enforcement of FEDERAL policy for voter registration. Arizona had a similar fight in order to uphold their law allowing police to request documentation of citizenship. These are direct consequences of the wrong idea stated above.

Activist judges interpreting the Constitution to fit their personal beliefs is another bad idea that has hijacked our justice system and encroached upon our very freedoms. Roe vs. Wade ushered in abortion on demand in the name of personal “choice”. The consequence or fact of this “right” to choose is the extermination of at least 50 million American babies. Facts are persistent things, the wise man said. In some instances, they are horrifying realities.

Wrong ideas can and often do spring from the wellspring of “the very best of intentions”. The problem with intentions is their ephemeral nature. They are impossible to evaluate or quantify. Thus they provide a convenient, murky refuge in which Liberals can hide and continue unchecked by any accountability.

The Bible says that man looks upon the outward appearance, but only God judges the intents of the heart of man. On a personal level that is true. On a public policy level, the consequences of our decisions judge us.

We no longer have the luxury of accommodating those whose thinking is demonstrably rotten, regardless of how noble they may perceive their intentions to be. It’s time to put this foolhardy fire out. While we still can.

Image courtesy of Sylvain Pedneault

About the author: Nathan Clark

Nathan Clark is a conservative commentator who resides with his wife in New Hampshire. He is passionate about preserving the vision of our nation's Founders and advancing those tried and true principles deep into America's future. His interests range broadly from flyfishing, cooking and shooting to pro sports, gardening, live music and fine-scale modeling.

View all articles by Nathan Clark

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