I’ve always thought that one can learn a lot from Hollywood celebrities, as their generally pious and most-often uninformed political opinions usually reveal deep truths about the state of the country. Sometimes, a seemingly innocuous remark by a well-known actor, musician — or in this case comedian — can expose a worldview that’s reflective of a wider societal problem.
The latest such episode is from Chris Rock, who is, in my opinion, one of the funniest comics that’s ever done stand up. Unfortunately, I don’t think Chris was trying to be funny when he recently made the statement that “the President of the United States is, you know, our boss.”
Rock went on to say, “The president and the First Lady are kinda like the mom and the dad of the country. And when your dad says something you listen, and when you don’t, it will usually bite you on the ass later on. So, I’m here to support the president.”
The “here” in the incredulous statement was a reference to Rock’s appearance on Capitol Hill on February 6, 2013, to call on Congress to act on President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence.
I say incredulous, because apparently, Chris wasn’t paying much attention during his high school civics class. If he had, he would know that the president isn’t “our boss,” but rather someone elected, employed by and who serves at the behest of the American people. The president is no more our boss than the latest winner of American Idol is our boss. Although the office of the president is entrusted with administering executive power that preserves, protects and defends the Constitution, the president is not the boss of the citizenry; he is our servant.
Perhaps even more disturbing than this fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between citizens and the government is the reference to the president as the “dad of the country.” Here Rock’s attitude leaves him and others who think like him subject to paternalistic laws, rules and regulations that limit our liberties in the name of what’s deemed best for us by those in charge.
As a lover of liberty and freedom, I abhor the notion that I need to be parented by government.
In fact, the attitude that government knows best and we should accept its wisdom is what allows laws to be passed that tell us what we can and cannot do with our own bodies, what weapons we are allowed to own to defend ourselves against tyranny, how many miles to the gallon our vehicles use, etc, etc, etc. Indeed, the list of paternalistic laws, rules and regulations cast down from on high by government at the federal, state and local level is nearly beyond belief.
Unfortunately, the only reason why such rules aren’t more widely protested is because of attitudes like Rock’s… attitudes that acquiesce to the notion that father knows best.
Sorry, Chris, but I don’t need a daddy and a mommy telling me what’s best for me. I’m a big boy, and I think for myself — and so should you.
Follow Jim on Twitter: @Woodsish.