I have a bunch of intertwined thoughts racing through my mind right now. In order to keep the following from turning into the incoherent ramblings of a crazy person, I’ll do my best (forgive me if I stray) to keep on just one topic.
The United States belong to the citizens, not to the government.
There it is. My cliché-sounding stock phrase. But please don’t touch that dial! Instead, allow me to explain.
A wise man once taught me the following lesson. That a society can exist anywhere on a continuum between Moral Autonomy and Political Authority. At 100% to the left (not politically, only graphically) is complete Moral Autonomy. No government. Anarchy. At 100% to the right is complete Political Authority. Omni-government. Totalitarian rule.
As you read that, I’m certain that you immediately imagined where we, the U.S.A, lie on that continuum. What we don’t recognize is that there’s another point to consider. Equally as important as where we sit on the slide is how we got there. In America, we got there by giving away rights and responsibilities to the government. And this (to an extent) is a very good thing indeed! People require a government in order to live freely. In the States, we enjoy freedom that few others do. Very few others. Anyhow. It went something like this: We started — in theory, not in practice — with a society of complete freedom (moral autonomy) and decided that, for the benefit of everybody, we would grant a number of responsibilities and a measure of authority to a common government. The duty of this government would be to protect the citizenry in the free exercise of their God-given rights. You know: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.
But now that’s changed.
“Now Americans believe that government exists to create new rights for them, and to solve their problems…
” - George F. Will, Newsweek
Thanks for the insight Mr. Will. It’s true! Look around, man! I’m not assigning any value (some are good, others not-so-good. I’ll let you decide which is which.) to the following things, but these are just examples of new rights, responsibilities, and problems to be solved that we’ve come to expect of our government:
- Economic Strength
- Fairness (not justice)
- Equality (Economic, racial, sexual, etc.)
- Not to be Upset or Offended
- Happiness (not the pursuit of happiness)
- Ease of Life
Okay. Everything that I typed previously serves the following point.
Every THING - right or wrong, good or bad, necessary of frivolous - that we cede to our government, moves us further toward the right-hand side of our political continuum. Political Authority. Government rule.
Every thing that we give the government to do is one less thing that we have the independence to do ourselves! What’s more, Capitol Hill is crammed to the rafters with people who could hardly care less about - wait for it - Y O U. I’m not a total cynic. I’m sure that there are also wonderful representatives who sincerely serve their constituencies. But there’s an overwhelming concentration of career politicians who care about authority and cash. And we all know it.
In the States, we don’t decide on most issues, rather we decide who will decide. And these people who we’ve chosen should have a healthy fear of us. But instead of us being responsible for our lives and making sure these crooks (or idiots, I’m flexible) do what we’ve entrusted them to do - we issue authority and expect them to take care of us! On a much smaller scale, that’s like handing your life-savings over to a stranger and trusting him to invest it wisely - mostly because you don’t want that responsibility for yourself! He couldn’t give two rips about you and your well-being. You complain when he uses your money to grease a few palms, take a few vacations, buy a few gifts, throw a few parties… But you never check in and you keep sending him your cash.
We’ve given the United States to the government, but it belongs to us, folks. I don’t know how to get it back. I’m not sure how you remove the entitlement center of a few hundred-million brains. I do know, though, that the more we let the government do for us, the less freedom we have.
We are frantically and excitedly giving away the freedom that we have so enjoyed. That’s bad enough, but we’re also giving away the freedom of the following generations of Americans.
Our kids won’t be as free as we are now.