"The Rumble 2012" between Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart clashed on a number of issues.
From the social security to the role of the Capitol to socialism and capitalism, the two media pundits punched and kicked with jokes interspersed about the role of government and the future of the American Experiment.
One question caught my attention: "What is wrong with this nation's discourse?"
O'Reilly blamed capitalism, strangely enough, because hate-mongering media personalities spew hate, and people pay for it and lick it up fast.
I believe that this country for the first time not only must face a fundamentally debate about the role of government, but also must come to groups with the pervasive yet unsustainable reality that nearly half the people are receiving something from the federal government. Call it "The 47% Principle" if you will, but a government that is giving so much will end up having to take up more time, space, and influence in our culture.
This trend does not jive with the vision of the Founders, or their version of the United States Constitution. A limited government with unlimited scope in our lives is a flat contradiction, like mixing law and grace, with the wineskin burst and the wine wasted.
Either we embrace freedom and refrain from Big Government, or we let Big Government grab us into its hold, in which everyone of us depends on one central authority, one which claims a god-like status on earth, only to run contrary to the undeniable truth -- that government must be limited due to the finite capacities of man, anyway.
What is wrong with the national discourse? We want all that we want, yet we do not want to pay all that it takes. We want the proverbial cake, and we want to eat it, too. The closed order of a fallen Eden still falls on deaf ears, except to the sounds of resounding promises from one of two elites competing for the Presidency. For the first time in a generation, certainly, the Presidential election entails two distinct views of government, the role of man and the role of the state.
Mr. Stewart, like many media elites, is convinced that smart people can operate a bureaucracy, but we just have to find those people and all will be well. Even O'Reilly evinced some of that executive over-appreciation, declaring that this country needs another Lincoln, even though the sixteenth President expanded the role of government -- national conscription, income taxes, and statewide concentration camps -- while deteriorating the compact of states and federal government which had initially established the United States of America.
Big Government inevitably springs from Big Individuals, the men (since a woman has not yet been elected President) who run for office and then presume to run the country. They are men, mere mortals, yet as voters, as citizens look more to what they can get as opposed to what they are and what they already have, we witness a growing dynamic of men and women who define themselves in relation to the state.
The "47%" is a moniker of distinction, now. The identity of the American is transforming from what he is based on the Creator who imparts natural rights, now replaced by the State which conveys artificial benefits.
What is wrong with our national discourse? The source of identity has merged with parties, politics, and talking points, deflating us of our sense of self, of truth, of stability in a shifting world, where conformity and comfort are replacing truth and tradition. Yet the country's growing inability to solve problems stems from this inability to articulate the problem, for if one defines every problem based on what one gets as one is, then divorcing the limits from the liabilities of government becomes impossible -- and thus the impasse in our governments and in our media.