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Papa Obama knows best

BY CHRISTOPHER PATTON | MARCH 27, 2009 7:30 AM

It’s a good thing we have President Obama leading this country. Without his enlightened guidance, ordinary little people such as ourselves would likely wander blindly, unsure of what path our lives should take.

But because we have Obama’s noble example to follow, we all know exactly what we should do.

To start with, school is important. As the president has said, dropping out of high school isn’t just a bad decision because it limits one’s options later in life. If people don’t live up to their maximal educational potential, they’re letting everyone down. And if one doesn’t live up to society’s expectations, how can one ever hope to have a fulfilling life?

Though studying the liberal arts or sciences at a four-year college isn’t for everyone, those who can excel at such pursuits are obligated to do so. An education isn’t just a way to expand one’s horizons and increase one’s earning potential. It’s a way to increase productivity.

Being maximally productive is key not because it allows a person to accumulate wealth that can be spent in the pursuit of happiness but because it benefits the whole community.

If a sharp-witted young woman is capable of success in law school, she possesses the ability to become a civil-rights attorney, a law professor, a legislator, or even president. In all of those positions such a person would be empowered to help those in need. Living as a public servant, she could attain the highest virtue, which is serving one’s fellow human beings.

And we all know that because Obama tells us so.

As he continually stressed during his campaign, the president knows in his heart that we are our brothers and sisters’ keepers. Logically, since we are obligated to provide for our fellow men and women, failing to choose the career that adds the most value to the economy is wrong.

For example, if our hypothetical young woman chooses to become a writer instead of a lawyer, she won’t be able to provide nearly as much practical assistance to her community.

If rather than studying political science and law, such a person were to study creative writing, she’d be unable to become a civil-rights attorney or law professor and far less likely to be in a position to even consider running for elected office. Especially if she never becomes a particularly popular author in her lifetime, such a woman would never produce as much tangible wealth for society through her labors. Perhaps working a simple service job to pay her minimal living expenses, our selfish writer wouldn’t end up paying nearly as much in taxes to her local, state, and federal governments. And without this much-needed tax revenue, those who, like Obama, have done the right thing and chosen to live the ideal life of public servitude won’t be able to help society as much as they could have if our hypothetical young woman had done her duty and worked herself into a higher tax bracket.

One may object that the young woman’s own satisfaction with her life would be greater if she were to live as she sees fit, but that would be missing the point.

The motivation to succeed ought not come merely from the desire to fulfill one’s own dreams. That’s just crass. As Obama has shown us, simply supporting oneself and refraining from harming others isnot enough. Each and every one of us also has the moral obligation to serve the interests of humanity at large. And the best way to do that is unquestionably to be as much like the president as possible.

After all, reflecting on history, who is it who has done the world the most good? Is it service-minded politicians like Obama or self-serving writers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who strike out on their own individual paths and live by their own unique standards?
It’s not even a close contest.


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