- - Monday, June 8, 2015


Quick question: To what do we pledge allegiance?

If your answer was “the flag,” you’re only partly right, but you’re excused because the Pledge of Allegiance is kind of wordy. The answer is “the flag … and to the republic for which it stands.” You know the rest: “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Government” is not listed, because it is not a value. It is a tool. What unites these United States is not a government, and it’s not even democracy. It’s a commitment to freedom so individuals can foster their own welfare and the welfare of others by choice instead of force. Government’s job is to protect that freedom. Democracy is the form of government that best does that.

Choice versus force? That’s the debate we’re always having, and, increasingly in recent years, force has been winning, regardless of which party has been in office.

For example:

With health care, what we have is a system controlled by government and by large corporate entities. This was happening before the Affordable Care Act even was a twinkle in President Obama’s eye, but of course Obamacare accelerated it. Instead, what we need is more consumers making choices regarding their own health care – and taking more responsibility for its costs.

With education, what we have is a nationwide system of government schools meeting an increasing number of government mandates, including those enforced through No Child Left Behind, passed under President George W. Bush, and those “encouraged” by the Obama administration’s embrace of the Common Core State Standards. What we need is more choice, made possible by vouchers, so parents can choose the best schools for their children – thereby forcing inferior schools to improve.

With law enforcement, what we have is an Obama administration and a Department of Justice increasingly interfering with local law enforcement agencies, with predictable results. What we need are local law enforcement agencies able to choose how best to fight crime based on their communities’ cultures and needs.

With the internet, what we have is a Federal Communications Commission enforcing its own version of “net neutrality” – in other words, government picking winners and losers once again in the name of “fairness.” What we need is a government that keeps its hands off the internet and lets it continue to develop on its own through the individual choices of billions of consumers.

With the economy, what we have is a classic Keynesian economics model – the government spending more to artificially create demand. The result is a hollow economy, ever increasing debt, and an ever growing government. What we need is a government that’s shrinking and an economy that’s growing because of the individual decisions made by consumers, business owners and entrepreneurs.

This upcoming presidential election is turning out to be a doozy. As of this writing, 10 Republicans officially have announced their candidacies, with more set to announce soon. It’s reached the point where only those polling in the top 10 will be included in the debates, creating an early race to reach double digit support. The Democrats have four announced candidates, including some lady who is the presumed favorite running against one candidate who calls himself a socialist and a former Republican who now calls himself a Democrat.

Presumably, all of these candidates have a direction they want to take America. Let’s assume they all have noble intentions. But humanity being what it is, they also want power. So whomever wins this race will have decisions to make. Will he or she use the office to amass power, or to give it back to the people? In other words, force or choice?

George Washington gave his power away, which, in the annals of human history, may have been his greatest accomplishment. Even though the Pledge of Allegiance had not yet been written, he knew where his allegiance lay: to the flag, and more importantly, to the republic for which it stands.

Let’s hope the 45th president follows the first president’s example. A nation governed by choice is much stronger than one governed by force.

Noelle Nikpour is a Republican strategist and author of “Branding America.”

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