- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

After Sunday night’s health care spectacle dressed up as a “vote” in the House of Representatives, the American people have been shackled by a new set of chains. The United States of America - once great, grand and free - is on the path to becoming just another country. We were once the beacon of liberty, a nation that didn’t just represent individual freedom but celebrated and protected it. The improbable defeat of the British that led to our dazzling founding made us exceptional from the outset. Our Constitution was quickly recognized, admired and loathed as an exceptional document of freedom. We survived intact a brutal Civil War that would have destroyed another country. And then, during two world wars, we crushed tyrannical enemies that wanted to snuff out our special liberty. We emerged stronger and, in turn, strengthened our exceptional status.

We have been the “shining city on a hill” that achieved superpower pre-eminence in a very short period of time because we were unique: The American people had a fierce passion for liberty, and our political system - based on limited government and individual freedom - was great because it was good. It allowed us to thrive, prosper and set ourselves apart from every run-of-the-mill nation.

No longer.

What the Democrats did last weekend was not just pass a horrendously expensive, corrupt and destructive health care bill.

They took a big chunk out of our exceptionalism.

They are turning us rather quickly into France. Or Great Britain. Or any other Western European nation that was once great but no longer enjoys that status.

And that’s the point. President Obama said last year that he believed in “American exceptionalism, the way the British believe in British exceptionalism and the way the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Meaning: he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. He believes we’re an arrogant nation, which is why he has been obsessed with apologizing for America and bowing before foreign potentates. He believes that the United States, with its big guns and its big money, has thrown its weight around too much, been too aggressive, pushy and demanding and too insensitive to how our actions affected others. We need to atone for that, he believes, by being taken down a notch or two. He intends to do the takedown.

According to Mr. Obama, exceptionalism is so yesterday, an uncool, antiquated and ultimately destructive notion. Rather than be first among many, we should simply be one of many. Just another country on the United Nations’ roll call. Nothing special. Equal to, say, Myanmar.

He is accomplishing this by expanding government in unprecedented ways. It’s unprecedented for us, although it’s certainly not unprecedented in the kinds of countries into which he’s trying to turn us. By expanding government into every nook and cranny of your life - through health care, cap-and-trade, and education policy - he will exponentially grow the base of people dependent on the federal government. By doing that, he will create a permanent Democratic majority. (This is why he will take up amnesty for illegal immigrants as soon as the ink is dry on the health care bill this week.)

The objective: a massive welfare state, a la France and Greece - both of which, by the way, are sinking fast under their monstrous debts. One of the keys to unexceptionalism is a crippled currency. By transferring millions more Americans to the public dole through health care entitlements, he is growing our debt to levels that will bring about the end of the dollar as the exceptional cornerstone of the world’s monetary structure. We’ll soon be going hat in hand to the Chinese (the way the Greeks are going hat in hand to the European Union), begging for economic salvation. America as uniquely free? Not anymore.

This is why most Americans are not going to settle for anything less than the full monty: absolute and total repeal of Obamacare. Most if not all Republicans will run on repealing it. That’s swell, but we have two conditions: (1) that they actually mean it and aren’t just spewing “fiscal responsibility” rhetoric to get elected and then, once in office, backtrack from working for full repeal, and (2) there are to be no exceptions in any repeal. No exemptions for subsection this or that. No “well, that part isn’t so bad” or “let’s only throw out the bad parts.” The entire thing is the bad part. The whole bill should be deemed an unconstitutional, criminal act. It must be repealed in toto.

Health care “reform” was never about health care. It was about expanding government into every part of your life as an excuse to confiscate more and more of your private property, strip you of your constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and remake America into a two-bit, second-rate, debt-laden European socialist backwater.

Sunday night, Mr. Obama said, “This is what change looks like.” The change to which he refers is the change to unexceptionalism. Note to the president and congressional Democrats: We are exceptional Americans, and you are wholly unexceptional thieves of freedom. We want our liberty and exceptionalism back. We’re throwing off the chains.

Monica Crowley is a nationally syndicated radio host, a panelist on “The McLaughlin Group” and a Fox News contributor.

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