Elian and Clinton’s Legacy of Feelings

April 28, 2000

If this great nation survives the growing wave of irrationalism in all areas of our society, here is how future historians will compare Clinton’s term in office with the time of the Founding Fathers.

While the Founding Fathers, including the early Presidents, were passionate men of reason, Clinton is a man of feelings devoid of reason, a man who follows blind emotion–or, to use Ayn Rand’s term, a “whim worshipper.” That explains his despicable personal behavior. That explains his domestic policies of trying to relieve the suffering of every wretch, not by spending his own money, but by robbing from the nation’s productive individuals–who don’t parade their own suffering like a medal. That explains his amoral foreign policy, where every dictatorship with a passionate, “well-meaning” leader and passionate believers is as right as any other government, where only agreement or consensus or feelings of a group of people (as in the UN or a religious sect or ethnic group) are what count (since there is no way to judge one person’s feelings as more valid than another’s), and where the way to deal with bloody murderers (like the Chinese Communists) is to try to make them feel good. And that explains his sickeningly evil policy regarding Elian Gonzalez (sickening because it is a policy of an American President), where the standard for judging the competence of a father is not any rational standard, but rather the father’s professed “love”–as if a stalker or child molester who professed love for his victim had the right to have his way.

Clinton’s chosen fellow whim-worshipping henchman Janet Reno repeatedly claims that Elian’s father really loves him, as if one person’s emotion is a claim on the life of another. Human beings have individual rights because their life requires that they be free to act according to their own rational judgment, not their mindless whims that infringe on the rights of others. A father has a right to raise his child, but not to enslave him in a state where there are no rights, where reason does not count and life does not matter. If a policeman entered a home and observed that a father was keeping his son in a cage, would the father be allowed to retain custody? Would a “loving” father serving a life sentence in jail have the right to demand that his son live in the adjoining cell–forever? Would any rational father, no matter how much he felt the desire to be with his child, make such a demand?

Janet Reno’s initial backing down on her threat to remove Elian forcibly from his family’s home illustrates further her worship of emotion. Her reason for backing down was that she did not want to traumatize the child. In other words, it’s okay to banish Elian to a life of slavery, where his every thought and action are controlled, but we must make sure not to damage his feelings.

This issue is, as Clinton says, “difficult” only because he adopts the view that any person’s opinions or desires–or feelings–or any government’s policies, are as respectable as any other’s. But the issue is not difficult at all if one recognizes that the United States is basically a free country (despite Clinton’s efforts), while Cuba is a totalitarian state that would enslave Elian for his entire life. No father has the right to violate the rights of his son. A father’s “love” is not the measure of a father’s competence. No man competent to be a father would let his son be a slave. “Love” is not the measure of good. Emotion is not the measure of right.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion.” The legacy of Clinton, the man who would be the “feel-good” President, is: A feeling’s might makes right.