• Representative Ocasio-Cortez Discovered Her Value Because of … Bernie Sanders (?)

    Surge Summary: This past weekend Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Bernie Sanders was the one how convinced her she had worth as a human being. Her and many Leftists’ “faith” in government turns their politics into a kind of religion. But government that can confer worth can also take it away.

    Along with so much else happening lately, on Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) revealed that her “democratic socialism” is effectively a religion. Okay, so she endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president – no big surprise there. Both of them are self-described “democratic socialists”; they support the same kind of government economic takeover. But it’s the way she did it that ought to perk up one’s ears.

    PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil writes:

    “Last February I was working as a waitress in downtown Manhattan. … I didn’t have health care, I wasn’t being paid a living wage, and I didn’t think that I deserved any of those things. Because that is the script that we tell working people here and all over this country, that your inherent worth and value as a human being is dependent on an income that another person decided to underpay us,” Ocasio-Cortez declared. “But what we’re here to do is to turn around that very basic logic.”

    “It wasn’t until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves health care, housing, education, and a living wage,” AOC explained.

    Really, Congresswoman? Really? It took Bernie Sanders to awaken you to your intrinsic value as a human being?

    Wow. How else can one take that but as a religious statement applied to the powers that be in D.C. Traditionally, in Western society at least, government cannot dictate a person’s “inherent value as a human being.” That’s God the Creator’s place. You might recall this document called the Declaration of Independence which affirmed over two centuries ago: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    “Governments are instituted to protect these fundamental rights,” elaborates O’Neil,

    but the state does not grant them to individuals. There is a human dignity that reaches beyond the sphere of limited human government. The state does not have the power to make human beings more valuable — it merely respects the inherent value they already have. This is fundamentally important, because if the government can increase your inherent value as a human being, it can also decrease your inherent value as a human being.

    This is Foundations of American 101.

    Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, however, was granting to government something that never should be granted it or to any individual person. She was effectively declaring the state determines a person’s dignity – and our founders would have been appalled by that.

    These “rights” are entirely different from the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or property. The rights in the declaration are “negative rights” — they represent ultimate limits on government encroachment. The rights AOC supports are “positive rights” — they represent new demands that people make on the government, goods and services the state must provide.

    And thus, demands that people make on other Americans – taxpayers! – who must invest their time, efforts, resources to provide them. The so-called “rights” implicated in Ocasio-Ortez’s much-touted “Green New Deal”, for example, according to a CEI/Power the Future study, would tap the average American family $250,000 in the first five years. Disturbingly, in fact, AOC’s chief of staff confessed the Green New Deal — “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all”, but “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

    Taxing the rich would not even come close to footing the bill for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All (both of which AOC and Sanders support), according to a Heritage Foundation study. Even assuming the economy would keep humming along and workers would still work with their wages confiscated, a 100 percent income tax on all incomes above $200,000 and a confiscation of all corporate profits would still fall $13.2 trillion short of paying for the low estimate of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. That number is based on the $48 trillion (close to the PJ Media analysis of $49.109 trillion over ten years) low-end estimate. This fanciful number is still $57.8 trillion short of the American Action Forum estimate of $93 trillion.

    So, whatever the realities of her policy recommendations, AOC is vouchsafing to the government the power to establish human dignity – yet, state programs do not determine an individual’s “inherent value as a human being.” Suggest otherwise? You’re opening the door to totalitarianism.

    If government determines human dignity, the state can choose to withhold that dignity from certain types of people. The worst evils in human history have involved just this kind of tyranny. Adolf Hitler denied the humanity of the Jews. In Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the Supreme Court essentially denied the equal human dignity of black people.

    And, of course, O’Neil then cuts to the most glaring glitch in her ode to government-granted human value: “The horrific logic of abortion denies the human dignity of unborn babies.”

    Where is the automatic worth of the helpless little one in the womb, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez? Where’s the built-in right to protection and life for unborn people? Apparently, because her god, the Democratic platform, rejects that worth, she deems babies in utero don’t have it.

    According to the Jewish and Christian traditions, all human beings are born in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28, 5:1-3, 9:6). Shamefully, many Christians denied the dignity of black people and native Americans — yet Spanish Scholastics like Francisco Suarez opposed this horrific racism that undercut the inclusive message of Christianity (Galatians 3:28).

    The American tradition of negative rights, fundamental human dignity, and limited government is grounded in this tradition. Americans need not believe in Judaism or Christianity to embrace human dignity, but the idea of government determining a person’s inherent value is a betrayal of both traditions.

    AOC’s ersatz faith frighteningly transforms government into a kind of Deity, which can measure individuals’ inherent worth based on welfare handouts. Her praise of Bernie Sanders carried the marks of a religious proclamation: he’s a prophet delivering the message that government can increase a person’s value courtesy of “free” health care.

    AOC likely does not see government as a kind of God, but she is using this rhetoric in order to tap into Americans’ deep need for belonging. Americans are seeking something more than policy from their politics — they are increasingly turning to politics to find a meaning that religion once gave them. The Democratic National Committee recently passed a resolution appealing to the religiously unaffiliated.

    Blaise Pascal, some might remember, once observed (paraphrase) there is a God-shaped or God-sized vacuum in each of us – only He can fill it; certainly not a passel of federally funded hand-outs. Augustine admitted to God humans are restless until they find their rest in Him. Washington, DC can’t satisfyingly take His place in men and women.

    To some degree, “democratic socialism” represents a religious commitment. AOC and Bernie Sanders look to government as the savior from the purported injustice of the free market system. Government can teach a person his or her “inherent value” by supporting this agenda, and those who oppose such absurd policy goals can safely be demonized as opponents of human dignity.

    This rhetoric is dangerous, not just because the policies are crazy, but because life is more than politics. Judaism, Christianity, and the American tradition of limited government set up a system that constrained politics and grounded human dignity in something far deeper and more important.

    If we value freedom, we must reject the idea that government gets the final say on who you are as a person. Along that road lies tyranny and civil war.

    H/T: PJ Media/Tyler O’Neil

    Image: Creative Commons; CC by-SA.2.0; https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrkbeta/46438135835

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