The Myth of the “Good” Government
(The following is a resubmission from a late 2008 post Mark penned on his The Frog in the Kettle website)
Here’s the real problem, a real frog-in-the-kettle dilemma; most people embrace a belief that the government is good (benevolent) or at worst, innocuous. How far from the truth they are.
- Benevolent: benevolence – an inclination to do kind or charitable acts
- Innocuous: Harmless; producing no ill effect; innocent; Inoffensive; unprovocative; not exceptional.
Are these the terms we should use when describing the federal government? Certainly our Founding Fathers would not have thought of a centralized government in those terms, but how things change in a short 200+ years. We’ve now almost completely lost any apprehension or healthy fear of the federal government and boy are we suffering from it. In fact, most of us look to Washington DC for direction or help in time of need. Call me Pollyannaish, call me gloom and doom, but I cannot ignore the facts that are in front of me. Perhaps others want to bury their heads in the sand and hope everything gets better, but not me. I don’t like getting cold-cocked or sucker punched! No, we’ve got a mess on our hands and it’s tenuous at best to think we can turn it around. And believe me, the worst is yet to come; we’re just in the very early stages of this. Why?
Well, to begin with, we’ve grown complacent and comfortable with the idea of federal government involvement in every facet of our lives. How often in the past 2 months have you heard the phrase “it will take a while for Obama to turn the economy around?”? Just this morning I heard Professor Larry Sabato state that very thing as he talked about tamping down expectations for the Obama administration. Did you catch the problem with that phrase; whether you’re a conservative, liberal or “moderate”?
Since when is it the responsibility of Obama or for that matter any politician to “turn the economy around”? Do you see how far we’ve fallen? Even as conservatives, we use the same terminology as the liberals and all our terminology points in the wrong direction…Washington DC. Washington is, has been, and always will be the problem and until that changes, we’ll just stay frogs in the kettle.
So, step one for everyone reading this blog…stop thinking of the federal government as “benevolent” or even “innocuous” no matter whom is in charge. Let me repeat; NO MATTER WHOM IS IN CHARGE.
A new paradigm is needed by all of us who call ourselves conservative. The federal government is neither benevolent nor innocuous, it’s predatory and harmful. Because its gravitational trajectory is always towards expansion, interference, and control, it is a direct assault and affront to all things free. Sadly, since the 1930′s, the government has encroached so much and so often that we’re hardly even aware of it anymore and we have become the generation of big government. Instead of a healthy fear of Washington DC and a Constitutional corralling of its powers, we’ve grown to fear it.
- Business owners – ever fear a tax audit, or an EEOC or OSHA audit?
- Home owners – Ever get a letter from the IRS, or want to add an addition to your home or build a pool near a wetland, feel uncomfortable telling the federal government how many guns you own?
- Employees – Are you afraid of talking about your religion at work, passed over for a promotion because of your race or gender?
- Dads and moms – Worried about the Department of Education interfering with your desire to home school, or odd looks from your pediatrician about guns in your home?
Now, before I’m accused of being an anarchist, let me put your minds at ease, I’m not. If fact, I see a real need for government in our lives. Simply hoping for the good will of our fellow man is both naive and dangerous. That said, I’m much more inclined to support our Founders concept of government rather than what we have right now. So, if I could wave my magic wand and change everything, I’d viciously slash the size of the federal government, perhaps by 75% and transfer the power and responsibilities to a very robust state government. I would only allow the federal government the power to operate within the enumerated powers given to it by the United States Constitution and take everything else away. This is in keeping with James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, in the Federalist Papers #45:
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.”
Thus, in my world, the federal government has the following responsibilities:
- Develop and manage treaties.
- Provide for the security of the states.
- Put down armed insurrections.
- Provide for interstate commerce.
- Create a national currency.
- That’s about it.
Everything else falls under Madison’s numerous and indefinite. Now, understandably, this doesn’t sound too appealing to anyone running for national office, but isn’t that the point. Didn’t the Founders want the source of power over people to be close to them, in the towns, communities, cities and states, not halfway across the country? Didn’t the Founders understand that the one-size fits all approach to national legislation would just eventually lead to factions? In their common sense approach to governance, the Founders realized that having power reside close to you, perhaps in your local community, would give you the ability to influence in ways you cannot today. Ever try to speak to your Representative or Senator? Never mind the President or Supreme Court Justice, not gonna happen. You’re just an “underling” to them; a tool to remain in power.
Little secret, when you get a letter signed by your Member of Congress, guess what, he/she didn’t write it, I did as a Legislative Assistant. In fact, he/she probably never even saw your letter unless you were a big contributor to their campaign or were a big player in their congressional district or state. Another little secret, most have no idea how to vote when legislation comes to the floor and end up asking their staff how to vote. And forget about voting in their committee, most of the time they give their proxy to the Chairman or the Ranking Member which means they’re not even there to vote. It’s laughable what the average American thinks really happens up there by these “statesmen.” Most spend their day with lobbyists or special interest leaders. Some meet with their constituents occasionally throughout the day, most are rarely in their offices. Someday, I’ll write an entire post about how legislation really happens in DC, but suffice it to say, that wasn’t the Founders intent.
In the end, we’ve made rock stars out of these politicians on Capitol Hill and we give them, through our lack of civic knowledge, all the tools they need to rule the citizenry. How sad; what was once a great idea, self governance, has turned back into another monarchy, just this time there’s a bunch of little “kings.”
Let him say what the government is, if it be not a tyranny, which the men of our choice have conferred on the President, and the President of our choice has assented to and accepted over the friendly strangers to whom the mild spirit of our country & it’s laws had pledged hospitality & protection: that the men of our choice have more respected the bare suspicions of the President, than the solid rights of innocence, the claims of justification the sacred force of truth, and the forms & substance of law & justice: in questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution: that this commonwealth does therefore call on its co-states for an expression of their sentiments on the acts concerning aliens and for the punishment of certain crimes, herein before specified, plainly declaring whether these acts are, or are not, authorised by the federal compact? – Thomas Jefferson (October 4, 1798)
We the People must stand in this hour of great peril and force the federal government back into the “chains of the Constitution.”
We must demand of the States, as agents of the People, that they defy Federal Mandates outside of the confines of Article 1. Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
The States, as an agent of the People, must deny Federal dollars confiscated from the People of the various States to fund programs not specifically authorized by Article 1. Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
We the People must immediately cease from asking of our government those services that fall outside of the Enumerated Powers of Article 1. Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
Failing at these three spells the end of the Great Experiment for we will have proven that we do indeed need to be subjects of a throne rather than a free people.
This Constitution Day, 2010…remember the sober responsibility the Founders entrusted to us. To preserve liberty.
Jeremy Dodge – TEA Party Anthem
The TEA Party Beat Down is Coming!
The TEA Party is being set-up by the Republican Party elders…the ruling class if you will.
If…and it’s still a big if, Christine O’Donnell loses, the loss will be a reflection of where the country is, not the TEA Party’s lack of political power. However, you will hear Karl Rove, John Cornyn, and the remainder of the Republican Establishment deliver a withering attack on we, the members of the Tea Party. All of us average citizens who attended rallies or decided to run for office are being marked and soon…you will be eviscerated by the Republican “Ruling Class.” Mark my words on this…the Tea Party is in the cross hairs of Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Cornyn, Karl Rove and others especially after one member of the ”ruling class,” Mike Castle, lost last night.
We’ve got to understand something here…as I’ve said over and over, we’re in a philosophical and ideological war.
There’s two opponents but I don’t think it’s who we all sort of think they are.
It’s not Republican vs. Democrat
It’s not about left vs. right
It’s not about race or gender
It’s about supporters of oppressive BIG government no matter the party vs. We the People!
It’s about Liberty and freedom vs. TYRANNY!
Don’t be tricked into believing it’s about anything other than that.
That’s why the politicians try so desperately to cloud or mask the real fight by getting us to fight about less significant issues. They do not want us to explore the underlying philosophical or ideological principle behind the issues they like us to fight about. Issues like:
1. What is an essential service? We all intuitively know an essential service is and hint hint….it’s not Medicaid or any other social service government provides.
2. Or how about this…parks. You may like a park and even really really want one…but what right do you have to use the government to forcibly take money from other people via taxation who may NEVER ever use a park or want a park. Now, you may want to gather a group of like-minded people raise some money and buy a nice plot of land and create the nicest park in the world for you and your group. And if you’re really charitable, maybe you open it to the public or maybe you charge a fee at the gate…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you, in the description above, didn’t use the power of government to rob your neighbor of their hard earned money just so you can have a park that you’d like.
Politicians and even us citizens talk about fairness all the time and the advocates of big government love this term. But just think it through with me…is it really fair to steal from your neighbor so that you can have what you want? If you believe it is…then I can’t help you…you’re part of the group who likes to use the power of government to get what you want. I feel sad for you…but you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
3. How about the Arts? We hear how much the “arts” add to a community and I suppose in some way they do. But, do you believe it’s moral for you to elect people to government who will use government’s power to take money from the tax-payer who may not appreciate the “arts” as much as you do? When is stealing…that’s right stealing, immoral? Is stealing from the tax-payer ever immoral or just because it’s allowed by law, it cannot be immoral? Or is it really dependent on the situation, i.e., “if I can get power through an election, I get to do what I want and take whatever money I need to do it?”
Play this out with me. Candidate “A” says that if you vote for him/her, they’ll make sure to fund the “Arts.” You say…GREAT, just what I want government to do for me and my friends! Sounds good, right? What you don’t realize is that for the “Arts” to be funded, they have to go to your neighbor, reach into their pockets and take out as much as they need for you to have your “Arts.”
Now, some will say, “how about all the money the “Arts” brings into the community and businesses.” First, this really cannot be proved. Second and perhaps most importantly…so what! Does this, in your mind justify using the government to take from others to support something you appreciate or perhaps businesses appreciate? The issue isn’t the nobality of value of the idea of the “Arts,” the issue is whether or not it’s moral to use the power of government to take money from your neighbor, without their consent, to fund something you managed to get control of through an election. The obvious answer is NO…at least I hope you agree with me.
Finally, I personally believe the “Arts” should and would stand on their own if allowed to. However, if they couldn’t, if their cost of doing business is too high, they should address it as any business would…lower costs. They should not use the supporters of their organization to go to the taxpayer and rob him/her of their money to balance their budget.
Folks, this is what we’re up against and we’re in for the fight of our lives…those of us who support individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited role of government in our lives, and elected officials who support the Rule of Law. The BIG GOVERNMENT types will not simply hand over the keys to us, no, they will fight against us…they will trash us personally and politically. They will pull out all of the stops to force us back onto our couches and merely staying angry. They hate that we’re organized.
Prepared to be called:
Not living in reality
It will take a stiff spine, but if we’re cut from anything remotely resembling the Founders cloth, we’re morally OBLIGATED to make a stand. The kitchen will be hot, but we MUST stand in it.
Now, the Republican establishment may back down because of all the attention Rush, Glenn and Sean are drawing to this, they may stick their finger in the air and cower. Only time will tell.
My suspicion is they will look like they support the Tea Party until something negative happens that provides them the trigger they need to start the beat-down.
So, get ready, be prepared…the political beating may begin sooner or it may begin later. Be assured of one thing though, the establishment (Republican and Democrat Elites and the Media) want to prevent you from gaining any more influence…they fear they may find themselves out of work if we do!
Principles that guide my voting
I’ve been asked over the last few weeks which candidate’s I would be endorsing for the various elections around Mid-Maryland this primary election:
First, as an unaffiliated voter, I can only vote for the Board of Education.
That said, I do have a set of principles that I use to make a decision about whom I’m voting for. I’ll offer them as a guide and you can take them for what their worth…perhaps nothing to some, may of value to others.
First, does the person I’m voting for really believe in THE PRINCIPLE OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS? Do they really believe that rights come from our Creator or Natures Law? Do they see their role as one who protects your rights or do they want to give certain sectors of our community more rights (i.e. your money and your property)?
Second, does the person I’m voting for really believe in THE PRINCIPLE OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY? Do those who are asking for your votes really believe that it’s up to the individual to take care of themselves and not the role of government or us, the ones who pay for government? Does the candidate I’m voting for believe that paying for anything other than essential services (fire rescue, police, roads, waste removal, water protection) is redistributing my property or as Frederic Bastiat puts it, legal theft in order to give it to another?
Third, does the person I’m voting for really believe in THE PRINCIPLE OF LIMITED GOVERNMENT? This is a term most candidates will use this election…that they’re all for smaller government…but are they really…really? Thus far, I’ve only heard two candidates that have stated clearly that government must be understood differently in our lives. Are you comfortable with the power government has in your life now? Do you mind that somewhere between 32% and 40% of your income is given to the government to spend as they see fit? If you are, then I suppose just about anyone will do. But if you truly are concerned about how much government in our lives is too much government…then I just ask you to take the time to ask the candidates where they stand on the role of government in our lives.
Fourth, does the person I’m voting for really believe in THE PRINCIPLE OF THE RULE OF LAW? Does the candidate that I’m voting for believe that it’s the role of government and its elected officials to rule me? Or does the candidate I’m voting for understand that their exclusive role is to protect my rights to live free? Do they embrace the notion that The Rule of Law would protect the “Self Evident” truths Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence and our hope would not be in whether a King would protect rights?
Now, many will scoff and mock these principles as oh so “backwards and irrelevant to today’s complicated society” or come on Mark, will you PLEASE get off of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence or this PRINCIPLE STUFF! Believe me, I’ve heard it all or received emails and voicemails to that to that affect. But, that’s ok, I’m comfortable with my belief system and what I know is this:
The county is facing a $17 Million dollar shortfall. Translated, they’re anticipating needing to spend $17 Million more than they anticipate they’ll be taking in through taxes. The State is facing a $2 Billion dollar shortfall, again translated; they’re anticipating needing to spend $2 Billion more than they anticipate they’ll be taking in through taxes. And we all know the debt problem at the federal level. Here’s the dirty little secret about all of this…do you know how our government has gotten into all of this financial mess? They got into this mess because We the People sent people to office that violated every one of the above principles…and many of them have records to prove it. Take a look at the voting records of the incumbents you’re planning on voting for:
- Have they cast votes that took away your money or property beyond the need to fund essential services whether at the local, State, or Federal Level?
- Have they cast votes that take your property or money and redistribute it to someone else? No matter how emotional or compelling the case might be?
- Have they cast votes that have expanded the role of government in our lives? Did they vote for or support regulations that seek to control your behavior in some way?
- Has the candidate voted for something that was not authorized by the Federal or State Constitutions?
As you’ve heard me say, probably too many times now, these are historic times we’re living in…the future of our country is uncertain at this point…I’ll talk about that next. Who we give control of a very dangerous power we call the government should be one of the most sobering and thoughtful endeavors we embark on.
Please remember these simple final thoughts on this as you go to the voting booth tomorrow:
Governments have a legal monopoly on power and force…they have guns and a military.
By law, government can take your money whenever they want to…all you can do is complain about it or go to jail if you disobey them.
By law, government can control your movements…remember the Japanese internment camps?
By law, government can take your property…how about down-zoning?
By law, government can control your behavior…try going down the street without your seatbelt on.
By law, government can enslave you…read history. Every BIG CENTRALIZED GOVERNMENT inevitably enslaves its people by making the general population dependent on it of fearful of it. (The British Empire, Soviet Union, Spanish Empire, Roman Empire, a good part of Africa now, a number of countries in the Middle East, China…the list can go on and on).
As Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
America has ALWAYS had a healthy suspicion of government…it’s what started this country. Sadly, now we have fear along with suspicion. Please…don’t, when it’s our turn to answer the call to defend freedom against a government that would seek to take away our inherent God-given rights of We the People,…don’t go weak in the knees!
In the end, please REMEMBER – Government is not your benevolent friend, uncontrolled…it will become your master.