This week former Ohio Representative Bob McEwen appeared in Wichita on behalf of Kansas Senator Dick Kelsey and his campaign for the Republican nomination for the United States House of Representatives from the fourth district of Kansas.
At a breakfast meeting, McEwen said that his state — Ohio — needs Dick Kelsey in Congress, and we in Kansas would be doing Ohio a favor by electing him.
McEwen said in Washington, there are those who are good politicians, but not necessarily effective at government. Then there are those not skilled at politicking, but good at providing leadership in government. The fact that Kelsey was chosen by his colleagues to be head of the caucus shows that he is skilled in both politics and leadership.
McEwen added that the time to have an impact in government is early on, in the primary. People ask in the fall elections: why can’t we do any better than these two candidates? The answer, he said, is to get involved now and take an interest.
The United States has just four percent of the world’s population, but we produce more books, plays, symphonies, copyrights, and inventions than the rest of the world combined. It’s competition that makes the difference.
Politics, McEwen said, equals integrity plus economics. Integrity is trust and reliability. It’s composed of morality, which means not doing what’s wrong, and also of character, which is doing what is right.
On economics, McEwen said that when someone takes away some portion of your money, you have fewer choices, or less freedom. There are only two classes of people who can take money from you. One has a gun, and is a criminal. The other — government — also has a gun, and the impact is the same. America is the richest and most powerful nation in the world because we are the most free. But as more freedom is taken away from us, the nation becomes poorer.
How does a nation become poorer because government takes its citizens’ money? McEwen explained that when you buy something for yourself, you care about both the price and the quality of the item. But when one or both of these factors — quality and price — are in the hands of someone else, less than optimal results appear.
When you’re buying something for someone else, you’re concerned about the price — you are the one paying, after all — but the quality may not be quite as important as when buying something for yourself.
Or when you’re going to consume something but not pay for it yourself: quality is important — you are the consumer, after all — but price is not important. Someone else is paying the bill.
The really bad situation is when you are neither the consumer nor the payer. In this case there’s not much incentive to be concerned about either quality or price. This, McEwen said, describes government purchases. “When we run [a dollar] through a third-party system called government, we’re in the process of making the nation poorer.” Because we do less of this than any other nation is why we’re the richest nation.
Much of the health care that’s purchased in the U.S. is purchased on behalf of people who are not paying for it, so it suffers from the problems of third-party purchases. When health care is paid for by those who are consuming it, as is the case with laser eye surgery for vision correction, price goes down and quality goes up. “It only works every time,” McEwen said.
So why do people get elected to office and make their country poorer, McEwen asked? Some people believe that government can make people wealthy, but he said that’s never happened in history and never will. But they’re still determined to try this course. Others believe that free people create wealth.
In public policy, one side always wants more government. The other wants to limit government.
The starting point is “We hold these truths to be self-evident” — which McEwen said “is a gracious way of saying any idiot ought to understand this” — “that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator” — right there, he said, is the distinction between us and other countries.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — these are the ideals of the American Revolution. The French, in their revolution, had the Enlightenment, which didn’t rely upon God, McEwen said. Liberty, equality, and fraternity — the theme of the French Revolution — eliminates God and relies on groups for the source of power and equality. But since government cannot create — it can only take from one and give to another — people object. Therefore, the symbol of the French Revolution was the guillotine.
The source of rights in America, however, was God, who gave us life and liberty. This explains the drive by liberals to remove God from public life: “They know that if you can separate a nation from God, then there is no protection for life, and for liberty.”