One hundred and one years ago, Theodore Roosevelt asserted his belief in the America people to live their own lives as they wished.
"The great fundamental issue now before the Republican party and before our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not."
"I believe in the right of the people to rule," he continued. "I believe the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them."
Now, in 2013, this stark choice faces us once again. Daniel Greenfield argues that we do not see a physical wall, as we did when Germany was split into East and West. Yet, we have a wall of words and regulation, that constrains us all the same.
Conservatives have lost the ability to lay out the stakes in the clear and simple language of a Churchill or a Reagan, to let the people know that they are not choosing between politicians, but choosing whether they will be able to have the car of their choice, the doctor of their choice, the meal of their choice and the book of their choice.
The conflict is simple and straightforward. It is the struggle over whether America will be an open system or a closed system.
In an open system, you choose the life you live. In a closed system, your life is mandated for you. An open system believes in the genius of the individual while the closed system believes in the genius of the visionaries of the ideology and the moral purity of the bureaucrats who implement it.
The open system is a door that you can choose to lock or leave open. The closed system is a cell door with wardens and guards who will let you out when they choose to.
In the open system you are in control. In the closed system you are being controlled for your own good, for the greater good, for the good of the state and the five-year-plan and the policy paper and the sub-paragraph of the regulation of page 50,261 as reinterpreted by a Federal judge in a court ruling that you never even heard of.
I am living in a time when the president of my country can get in front of the American people, and despite the fact that we can watch recordings of the man, over and over, stating "If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan; period. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; period," Obama now asserts that this is not what he said.
And millions of people believe him.
As Greenfield says:
People do not try to tear down a wall that they do not even know is there. It is only when they see the wall, when they feel its chill in their bones, when they sense its shadow over their lives, when they strive to climb over it and are shot down, when they chant against it and are beaten; will they be ready to tear it down.
Until the men and women of the open system come with a clear message warning of the wall that is being built around a free people, then they will go on losing elections and the cause of freedom will be lost, drowned in iron and paper, put in chains and filed in a trillion crowded databases.
Only when Americans see the wall, when they sense its shadow over Missouri and Florida, over New York and California, from ocean to ocean and border to border, will they be ready to tear it down.
Only then will they be ready to be free.
I hope we can, once again, soon be free.