The Cult of Need

03 Jul 2009

On Friday, June 27, there was a Tea Party in Olympia, WA.  I almost had the chance to speak, and so I prepared a speech.  I didn’t get to give it, but here is what I wrote:

We’re all here today because we stand for something. We stand for free markets. Limited government—limited by the Constitution. Individual rights—to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.  We’re here because King Obama and his Royal Court want to trample on those rights—and we’re here to say “no!”

But when we go out to defend those rights, we get attacked. People call us “cruel”, “heartless”, “selfish”.

These attacks come from the Cult of Need.

You want to lower taxes? But people need jobs—let’s have a stimulus bill! You want to curb inflation? But people need homes—let’s have a bailout! You want to protect free choice in medicine, and the rights of doctors and patients? But people need health care—let’s have socialized medicine!

This is the Cult of Need. In their minds, one person’s need gives him a right to what everyone else has earned. People are suffering—and so liberties are forgotten.

The Cult of Need calls themselves “compassionate”. And perhaps they are—so compassionate that they are blind to everything else. They see need, they see suffering, and they don’t think about who will pay for the charity they demand—or what liberties they are destroying in the process.

We are here—we, the sons and daughters of Liberty—because we have a different standard. Our standard is based not on blind emotion, but on the calm light of reason, on the lessons of history, on the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. We do not lack compassion. But we know that someone must pay for homes, for cars, for health care. And we know that no charity is worth destroying the liberties this country was founded on. We know that each of us has a moral right to the pursuit of his own happiness. That one person’s need does not give him a claim on what someone else has earned.

Our fight is not just a political battle.  It is a moral battle. To defend free markets and limited government, we must fight the Cult of Need. We must reject need as a moral standard. When you are fighting for individual rights, and someone calls you selfish, answer them: My happiness is the moral purpose of my life! And I have a right to my life, my liberty, and the pursuit of my happiness!

Say it clear, say it strong, say it proud. The bedrock of this movement is the strength of your conviction.