In a visit to Cuba to improve relations, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker dutifully lectured Cuban officials on what they need to do to improve conditions in Cuba. According to an article on ABCNews.com, Prizker said,
We urge President Castro and his government to make it easier for Cuban citizens to trade and travel more freely, to enjoy the fruits of their labor, to access the Internet and to (be) hired directly by foreign companies.
I’ve got a better idea for Pritzker, her boss President Obama, and the rest of the statists in Washington, D.C, both liberals and conservatives: Lead by example!
Start by making it easier for American citizens to trade and travel freely to Cuba. Begin by lifting the decades-long U.S. embargo against Cuba, by which U.S. officials prosecute, convict, and incarcerate Americans citizens for traveling to Cuban and spending money there.
Pritzker herself admits that this is a challenging task, given congressional opposition to lifting the embargo. All the more reason for her to focus on changing things here in the United States rather than continuing the more than a century-old U.S. government obsession with changing things in Cuba.
After all, let’s acknowledge the obvious: the U.S. government’s embargo is an infringement on the fundamental, God-given rights of freedom of travel and freedom of trade of the American people. As such, it is in no different in principle from the socialist system in Cuba, which controls the economic activities of the Cuban people.
What moral standing does Pritzker and other U.S. officials have to complain about a socialist economic system in Cuba when they endorse socialist-type controls over economic activity here at home?
And while we’re at it, how about making it easier for Americans to travel and trade with other people around the world, such as the people of Iran? Under what moral authority do President Obama and his statist cohorts in Congress punish Americans for trading with Iranians with their cruel and vicious system of economic sanctions on Iran?
Isn’t economic liberty a fundamental, God-given right — the type of right enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, a document that U.S. officials celebrate with a national holiday every Fourth of July? Aren’t fundamental rights supposed to be immune from government infringement, not just by the communist governments but also by all governments, including the U.S. government? Isn’t that what the Declaration holds?
Pritzker wants Cubans to be free to enjoy the fruits of their labors? Really? Well, how about Americans? Wouldn’t it be better, once again, to lead by example in this area?
How can Americans enjoy the fruits of their labors when the IRS takes a large portion of their earnings in order to provide the money to fund the U.S. government’s massive, ever-growing welfare-warfare state?
Our American ancestors didn’t have that problem. They lived without an income tax and an IRS (and without a welfare-warfare state) for more than 125 years. They were free to enjoy the fruits of their earnings—all their earnings, not just the portion that U.S. officials permitted them to keep.
Why don’t we Americans living today have that same freedom? Why is our income subject to being seized by government officials, just as the income of Cuban citizens is subject to being seized by their communist government?
Pritzker wants Cuban citizens to be able to go to work for foreign companies opening up in Cuba. How about instead leading by example by opening U.S. borders to the free movement of Cuban citizens to the United States, where they would be free to open up businesses and hire American citizens or go to work for American companies here? Or is economic liberty good only for Cuba and not for the United States?
Just in case Pritzker would like to do more to lead by example instead of spending her time lecturing the Cuban socialists, my modest recommendation is: Dismantle (i.e., don’t reform) the crisis-ridden U.S. programs of Social Security, Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, public (i.e., government) schooling, central bank, and large, permanent military establishment, domestic intelligence and surveillance agency.
As Pritzker may have discovered in her visit to Cuba, those governmental programs are core elements of Cuba’s socialist and communist system. As such, why are they also core programs in a country that was founded on the principles of private property, free markets, voluntary charity, and limited government? Our American ancestors weren’t saddled with such programs. Why are we?
Pritzker would be wise to remember that when she wags her finger at Cuba’s communist regime, she has three fingers pointing back to herself. Is leading by example more difficult than telling others how they should live their lives? Of course it is. But what better way to move people in the right direction than to practice what one preaches?