In recent weeks on this website, those who believe in limited government and think that the current administration has been harmful to the United States have been called “terrorists” and other sundry things. While one hopes that tongues are tightly sealed to cheeks with this silly and unhelpful name calling, It is time for a counter-argument; not an argument based on policy, but rather a defense of principle. To put it into as a response to a recent post (Quit being such a Mitch), I would rather be a Mitch than be a slave.
It is an axiom that liberty cannot exist where government has power. This truism is found in the writings of Aristotle and Cicero in the ancient world as well as the writings of the Publius. This notion is also enshrined in both of our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Our governments – both state and national – are intended to be a limited in their power. When government acts, we are not free. Therefore, the limits of governmental power must be strictly contained and enforced, and is why the Constitution empowers our government in limited areas of national defense, opening the lanes of interstate commerce, and administer the wheels of justice. Most people agree that it is government’s responsibility to carry these things out and we pay taxes to ensure this.
Yet, we are far removed from the days when government did only that which it is scripted to do. Today, the federal government has its fingers into nearly every aspect of our lives. From the amount of water our toilets flush (seriously) to limiting the type of light bulbs we can use as well as the sorts of feathers placed in hotel pillows, the federal government tells us how to live. The federal government also tells you how you should eat; how your cars should operate and the type of gas it should use; and the quality of paper that restaurants must use to print their menus. In other words, you cannot make decisions for yourself, the government must make them for you. While these examples seem little more than nuisances, they are, nonetheless, violations of individual liberty and like any good slippery slope, once you fall it is hard to get back up. These examples are also innocuous compared to Social Security, Medicare, and, now National Insurance. Under Obamacare, for example, you have no choice but purchase insurance from a provider or face a tax and even possible jail time. This mean that someone can sit, locked in his or her bedroom without human contact for one year, and the government still forces that person to purchase health care.
Adding to the problem is the excessive taxation required to fuel this Leviathan. On this website, there have been arguments and poll questions regarding taxation and its effects upon the economy. In many ways, this misses the most serious point. Taxation is a question of liberty because taxation is a form of taking private property. When taxation is solely for the carrying out governmental necessities contained in the Constitution, those taxes are not burdensome. If government is limited in what it can do, taxation will be limited. When government does whatever it pleases without regard for the strictures of the Constitution, taxation will be burdensome. It is also unjust. As a people, we place high value on equality – that everyone is equal no matter the station or the circumstances of their lives. This is a good thing. Yet, in matters of taxation, equality is abandoned and rigid class structures are implemented. This is why fifty percent of Americans pay no taxes but reap the benefits from those that do. This is the very definition of unjustness.
These laws and measures make us a dependent people. In fact, it makes us little more than serfs with high-tech gadgets (practically all of which are regulated in some form by the government). The dominion of government over us is similar to the control feudal lords wielded over serfs. If nearly half of our population receive benefits of government, and wish to continue those benefits, they must abide by the government’s wishes. Even those that are not dependent upon government are forced to look to them to see if our everyday actions are in violation of their dictates. How can we truly be a free people when government tells how to live? The answer is simple, we are not free. We have some freedoms, such as those rights contained within the Bill of Rights (although they too are under attack), yet we do not have liberty.
The Tea Party and the conservative movement are about trying to restore to Americans that which is our birthright: liberty. It seeks to curb the excessive, tyrannical, and unconstitutional actions of government with the understanding that to fetter government is to liberate the people from its control. The only question is, are we too late – are the chains of tyranny bound too tight for us to escape? Those of us in the Tea Party and conservative movement refuse to believe the answer is yes. If fighting for American liberty means results in name-calling, like “terrorists,” so be it. I would rather be called “Mitch” and be free than called American and be a serf.