Obama's local cheerleader (Van Ens) gives us all a liberated and narrated history lesson of how the American West was won - not by the hardy mountain men of 1800, not by the resolute settlers and frontiersmen, and not by private entrepreneurs selling their snake oils and laxatives.
That vaunted American individual is only a myth, since without government aid none of them would have made it. I submit that his "history" is right out of the politically correct renditions from the National Education Association and U.S. Department of Education.
I recall that there were no government jobs west of the Mississippi back then and that the private railroads created jobs along with the individual labors of small entrepreneurs without governmental grants, bailouts or crony loans. There were no "governmental initiatives" or "governmental risk taking." The grit and pluck of the Irish, the Scandinavian, the Asian or any other sort of individual settled and Americanized the West, albeit the federal government of today eventually won it all through its social agenda.
"No collection of John Wayne heroes with grit and initiative conquered the West. Government aid effectively and abundantly helped them," says Van Ens.
Incredible! He avers further that "such reality debunks the American myth of solitary entrepreneurs using market forces to harness new capital to create jobs."
From this I surmise that the Astors did not develop the fur trade of 1790-1830. Government did! The Tabors did not develop their silver and gold mines (1890-1910). Government did! Hill did not develop the Great Northern railroad (1860-1875). Government did.
Jobs did not develop the iPhone (2000-12). Government did! Gore did not develop the Internet (whenever). Government did! Van Ens cites the Homestead Act as an example of governmental aid to open up the West for settlement, and I would add that the Mining Act of 1872 did also. Both of these governmental programs confiscated (without remuneration) the wealth, property, lands and lives of the Indian nations and redistributed that wealth and prosperity to others who were recognized as preferential citizens by the government.
Van Ens visualizes government as separate and apart from the citizens who established it in the first place. Does he not realize that the American form of government only exists by the consent of the governed, and if that consent is withdrawn, government itself will go the way of the Indians.
These western lands belonged to the pioneers and settlers (the people) first and foremost.
Government was not a burden back then. It was a repository of constitutional law and encouragement that interjected stability and the preservation property rights into the American experience.
Mr. Obama's government of today represses capitalistic grit and initiative as if those were evils to be eradicated. And so it happens that once again the government confiscates the wealth, lives, livelihood and private property of a free people, and redistributes it to and for the benefit of preferential "citizens" - illegal aliens, the idle, the endeared crony, the favored corporation,and the highly paid federal employee who produces nothing other than rules and regulations.
My America of yesteryear had a Constitution. It had grit and initiative. It had the freedoms that the Native Americans enjoyed before the cavalry arrived.