This article was originally posted at americanchronicle.com on April 7th, 2008.
I´ve noticed in life that people seem to have a tendency to believe that everyone thinks and acts as they do. If one is a thief, he will most likely believe that everyone is a thief, or at least would be if they could get away with it. Often a thief may accuse others of stealing. If one is a liar, he could very well think everyone lies. This is especially true with politicians. Nowhere else on earth will you find the pot calling the kettle black as much as you will in the halls of congress. Yet I´ve noticed that most people are good and honest. They, like me, just want the best for themselves and their families. They, like me, are willing to work hard to earn it. So why is it we tolerate such secrecy and deception coming from our government? Why have we allowed socialist doctrines to pervade our society? Perhaps we have been too nice, or perhaps we´re not as nice as we think.
Since most of us are well intentioned, we assume everyone else is well intentioned. Certainly if we see someone down on their luck, or if someone is in dire straights due to some circumstance beyond their control that has befallen them, most of us would be only too willing to lend a helping hand. Americans are extremely generous. I have heard it said that Americans are the most generous people on the planet. I have experienced this generosity first hand when my house burned down several years back and many people gave us money and support to help us get by. People who didn´t know us but were simply asked to help out a family in the community donated. These acts of kindness helped restore my faith in mankind. Because of this, because many of us humans are so kind and generous, many of us believe that is human nature, and this may make it easy to dupe us.
Many people believe that government is created to do good works, that government is created to protect the common man and bring justice and equity to the world. We should stop deluding ourselves. While in a perfect world this type of admirable government would exist, and while it can be argued that the United States government would be such a government if they followed and protected the constitution, the reality is much different. We do not live in a perfect world. Government no longer protects the common man nor even tries to bring equity or justice. They protect certain special interests who give them money – usually in the form of campaign contributions – to do so. They protect their own power base usually by passing laws that make it nearly impossible for independent and third party candidates to compete with the anointed ones. Ominously, they have been passing laws lately that will make it easier for them to arrest and control dissidents should common, ordinary citizens become angered enough to actually start trying to take their power back.
Government is force and coercion. Those are the principles on which it operates. You are forced to pay their taxes. You have no choice if you wish to stay out of trouble. Don´t pay, and they will arrest you and throw you in jail. Resist their police, and they will kill you. Government has monopolies on power, on ruling over you, on making laws, and on the instruments that make it possible to enforce the laws they make. Does this sound like good works? Does this sound just? Does it sound equitable? The government takes our money, then the bureaucrats decide where it goes, which people get it and which people don´t, and who gets protected and who doesn´t. When the mob was taking money from business men for protection, it was called extortion. When the government does it it´s called taxes. This is not freedom. In a free society we can choose where the money we earn is spent. In a free society we can choose which charities we want to donate to. In a free society we decide who to voluntarily associate with. Yes there will be problems in a free society, no society is perfect and it is doubtful one ever will be, but freedom is preferable to wealth redistribution forced upon us by a group of people that couldn´t care less about you. Freedom is preferable to legalized theft.
Yet perhaps we have no one but ourselves to blame. Perhaps we as a free society were betrayed by our own greed. I´ve heard it said that democracy fails when people realize they can vote themselves money. The silver tongued politicians have been making promises, but failing to explain the cost of keeping such promises. Many have voted for the establishment of social programs, but what are the true costs of such programs? They´ve done so for the best intentions of helping the poor, but is it right to steal from one group to help another? Certainly there must be other solutions, better more voluntary solutions, but these solutions aren´t so easy. And then there´s the programs set up to help everyone, programs like the tax rebate program coming in May. But has anyone thought of where this money will come from? We´ve been borrowing money and printing it by the trillions. This money is from private organizations that don´t care about you or me or even the government, they only care about their profits. They only care about collecting the interest on what we owe. We should be paying down our debt, paying off the principle, trimming our expenses and shedding ourselves of non essential government programs before the debt gets to be too much of a burden to bear. The only way to be truly free is to rid ourselves of all debt so that we owe no one, else we are just working for those we are indebted to and we are all debt slaves. Freedom is preferable to the chains of socialism. Freedom is preferable to the prison of indebtedness.
I still believe that deep down the vast majority of people are honest, hard working people who just want to be left to their own devices so that they can make their way in the world and provide for themselves and their families. I wish I could say the same for those who seek power. The vast majority of those in politics seem to be control freaks. They want to tell everyone how to live. They want to stick their noses in everyone´s business and demand money for doing so. They want to mold and force everyone into their vision of how the world should be. They want to achieve more and more power to help themselves and their friends, rather than just letting the marketplace run on its own and helping on the limited scale put forth in the constitution. This is how government grows. At least, that´s how it seems to me. Freedom is preferable to big government.
The power structure of this nation keeps becoming more and more centralized. Many of the powers meant to keep one power or the other in check seem to have failed and the executive is coming out on top. This trend needs to reverse itself. Congress should demand the executive account for its arrogance. Judicial should demand strict adherence to constitutional mandates. States should demand that federal stop making laws that the constitution has granted as state jurisdiction. We need to decentralize, not keep granting more power to fewer and fewer people. With less centralization comes more freedom. This freedom will enable the masses. It will give people the opportunity to invent, to be innovative, and to create. This freedom, whether in the marketplace or in personal lives, will enable people to associate with and get to know more people inside and outside their communities. It will enable the common man to help himself rather than depend on others. It will enable everyone to see problems forming and will increase the possibilities that a solution will be found, one that is likely more clever than a forced government mandate. Freedom is the preferable concept. It is the foundation of this nation. Somewhere along the way we as a society forgot this and lost our way. This is the principle we should get back to.