Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Statism

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
 – Ben Franklin

On January 1, I posed the question, “What will Liberty look like in 2014?” Six months later, the only honest answer is “less and less.”

Liberty is something we often hear about, but isn’t exactly a topic of discussion at dinner parties. If we don’t really know what liberty is, how will we know when it is taken away, or if it is being taken away? Unfortunately, it often takes tyranny to make liberty more precious.

As government grows, liberty decreases

It was Thomas Jefferson who warned, “The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

The purpose of liberty is to allow human life to flourish. In California, as state government has exponentially grown, the Golden State is no longer flourishing – by any measure. Liberty is decreasing.

A new survey ranks Sacramento the worst city in the country for small business owners, along with six other California cities.

The Thumbtack online survey shows that the state of California received failing grades in “business, environmental regulations, and for its tax code, licensing, and zoning laws,” Breitbart California reported. Thumbtack surveyed 12,000 small businesses nationwide over a period of two months.

“After a two-month survey of small business owners nationwide, California’s small businesses have rated it near the bottom as one of the least friendly states in the nation toward small business,” Jon Lieber, Thumbtack’s chief economist, explained in a statement about the survey’s findings.

”Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington

Freedom is free markets

Freedom is the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint, political or national independence, and personal liberty.

In that regard, Americans must be free to create opportunities to earn an income. This is done under free markets.

A truly free market is a market in which there is no economic intervention and regulation by the state, except to enforce private contracts and the ownership of property, according to Princeton University. It is the opposite of a controlled market, in which the state directly regulates how goods, services and labor may be used, priced, or distributed, rather than relying on the mechanism of private ownership.

Yet Democrats, liberal politicians, and unelected Statist bureaucrats impose more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, every day.

”Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere.”
– James Madison

John Locke was right – and still is

John Locke, a 17th century English philosopher and physician, regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers, said government is morally obliged to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. He explained the principle of checks and balances to limit government power. He favored representative government and a rule of law. He denounced tyranny. Locke insisted that when government violates individual rights, people may legitimately rebel.

Locke said the only legitimate governments are those that have the consent of the people. Therefore, any government that rules without the consent of the people can, in theory, be overthrown.

These views were most fully developed in Locke’s famous “Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government.”

Locke said that if, either through an abuse of power or an impermissible change, these governing bodies cease to represent the people and instead represent either themselves or some foreign power, the people may–and indeed should–rebel against their government and replace it with one that will remember its trust.

“All men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man,” said Locke.

What Locke identified are the three but interconnected keystones of a society of free men: Liberty, Rule of Law, and Legislative Power by consent of the governed.

”It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
– James Madison

Statist government

The 430 regulatory agencies listed in the federal register are statist, anti-capitalist programs, and have existed for about a century, harming the U.S. economy, according to Harry Binswanger, a self-described defender of laissez-faire capitalism, philosopher, and associate of the late Ayn Rand.

“I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System,” Binswanger said in a December 2013 op-ed in Forbes. “For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. How’s that worked out? How’s the value of the dollar held up since 1913? Is it worth one-fiftieth of its value then or only one-one-hundredth? You be the judge. How did the dollar hold up over the 100 years before this government take-over of money and banking? It actually gained slightly in value.”

The people work for the government

Americans are burdened by this labyrinth of government agencies, policies, procedures, rules and regulations. Our federal government, once limited to basic core functions, now dominates virtually every area of American life. States, local governments and municipalities, and private businesses are increasingly overwhelmed by federal programs and influence. And as government expands its influence, our liberties recede.

The Left has been engaged in a century-long attack on the first principles of America, the Constitution, and the culture that supports liberty and freedom. However, the Left, steeped in ideology and control, always eventually oversteps, and has done so once again. The recklessness of government, and the arrogance of officials, appear to have finally awakened a sleeping giant, in a nation that has been too long asleep.

A new Quinnipiac University survey found that voters rate Mr. Obama as the country’s worst president since World War II. “With Mr. Obama deploying troops to Iraq, failing to find compromise with Congress and seeing major defeats in the Supreme Court, voters continue to sour on him,” the Washington Times reported.

“Voters also rated the man who swept into office in 2009 with a promise of ‘hope and change’ as worse than even his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, who left office with terrible approval ratings.”

“Over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

As creeping centralization slowly overcomes the Constitution’s federal design, the national government has begun to restrict the freedom of religion that is an indispensable element of the American founding.

The Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, is under assault. First Amendment speech rights are being challenged by Congress. The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press. However, some members of Congress want to limit the definition of the press to only those who work for large, established news outlets. They want alternative media and bloggers quieted. Yet the First Amendment is very clear: Congress cannot interfere with an individual’s religion or speech. It cannot restrict a citizen’s communication with others to form community by worship, publishing, gathering together or petitioning the government.

”If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”


– George Washington

Cross posted at The Flash Report 

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