Through the rich differences between male and female, the reshuffling and recombining of genes, life finds its way forward. Male meets female, they shuffle the genetic cards and bang! Amphibians walk out of the water. Monkeys develop opposable thumbs. Man learns to walk upright. Shuffle the cards again and sex finds pathways around diseases and mutating viruses that would otherwise extinguish us. Another genetic shuffle and man learns to master the use of tools: a piece of flint, the spear, a Twitter app.
The chaotic jumble of sex is nature's creative secret. It allows change, adaptability and advancement. The cost, however, is astounding. For every evolutionary change or mutation that succeeds, there are hundreds, perhaps millions of dead-end journeys. One eagle survives a thousand dodo birds.
The alternative to nature's undisciplined creativity, however, is rigidity, paralysis and decline. Asexual reproduction is a short and stagnant avenue, an unimaginative path that leads no further than the amoeba.
It is a shame no one ever took Obama to a drive-in movie on a sultry, summer night to teach him this important lesson -- and explain how it applies, not just to the birds and bees, but to society and economics, as well.
Nature advances through the wasteful confusion of sex. Economies advance through the noisy jumble of the free market. Science advances not just through reason, but in random leaps of inspiration. Some species and businesses and scientific experiments fail. Others march forward. Life advances not despite chaos, but because of it. There is no chance for success, it seems, where there is no risk of failure.
So it is with government. Every time it outlaws failure in exchange for security, a little bit of life is lost, and those who live, live less.
Big government is the enemy of change, the enemy of all growth but its own, the adversary of progress.
Government programs are poured cement: Once they flow into an economy and set, their man-made stone hardens forever. Americans have seen what welfare does to individual initiative, what the Internal Revenue Service has done to economic growth and innovation.
But government imposes a larger penalty, invisible and silent: It taxes our future. The dollar given is celebrated, the dollar taken goes unmourned. Like the farm boy who has never seen the ocean, we do not miss the businesses never started for lack of capital, the jobs never created because of government regulation, the family that could have made it with less economic pressure. Yet we are all poorer in their absence.
Big government taxes what we could be, much more than what we have.
A government that incentivizes progress, at its best, must largely leave its citizen-explorers alone on life's perilous but promising journey, free to fail or succeed greatly.
Freedom, Mr. President, is as perilous and productive as sex.
Still, as our outdated industrial age government grows larger and drives us closer to bankruptcy, strangling economic growth, while failing to govern our schools, our health care, our retirement plans or our economy, Obama assures us that what we need is more commanding, anesthetizing big government.
And the safety and protection he promises are seductive. As we leave the old world of the factory for the new world of communications, a fledgling, techno-economy is reshaping the global economy through a violent and Darwinian process.
Jobs, businesses and entire industries that endured lifetimes now disappear in technological lightning strikes. If today's workingman wanders down the wrong evolutionary path, making fire alarms instead of smoke detectors, he could end up next to the mimeograph machine in an economic graveyard.
With such economic anxiety, it is easier for politicians to feel our pain than our promise. They know they can raise our doubts faster than our confidence. Instead of inspiring us through great fear to greater accomplishments, they take a safer route. They comfort us as our president does: Obama reassures us with "The Plan."
The plan promises security. A social safety net. A soft landing. It offers protection from a dangerous workplace, a dangerous economy, a dangerous environment. "Health Security for All Americans." The plan comes in many shapes and sizes. Government will prescribe the exactly right route for us, our president tells us, and we lunge for that security as if a life raft.
Then we have no more worries than the amoeba. And we forget that Martin Luther King Jr. didn't give an "I Have a Plan" speech.
Neither man's greatest accomplishments nor nature's elegant wonders could have evolved from a 2,000-page government plan.
Somewhere this night, far from Washington, as Obama's second term blooms past infancy, two parents gather around a kitchen table. They are paying their bills. Looking at a report card. Mapping a line to the future for their children. And this night, though nothing in their world seems different, they know everything in their world has changed.