Recognizing Our Problem
As I think about the increasingly vicious political climate we’re now experiencing, I reflect more often on just how we’ve reached a point in our nation’s history where more factions are fighting each other than ever before. No doubt there are reasons far more complicated than what I can comprehend or even begin to outline, but I can’t help but believe that so much of the animosity towards each other is a direct result of our escalating dependence on government to “do something” to correct an “unfair” world.
And in more situations than not, that “something” is in the form of legislation which inevitably ends up trading our personal freedoms for more and more control over our lives by government.
Legislation doesn’t exist in a vacuum; for every law written, there are untold resultant regulations created by bureaucracies at every level, with further layers of government added to make sure that we as citizens are adhering to the new laws and regulations.
How many times do we really think about the liberty we lose whenever another law is passed?
Dr. Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University and nationally syndicated columnist recently addressed students, faculty, and visitors at Troy University in Troy, AL., on the subject of “The Role of Government in a Free Society.” Dr. Williams has long been one of my favorite columnists as he has a gifted ability to break down complex economic issues into language that those not living in the world of academia can understand.
Dr. Williams began his lecture by warning it wouldn’t be politically correct and that the legitimate role of government just might offend some in the audience. That legitimate role isn’t complicated as is outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and for those easily politically offended on both sides of the aisle, there is nothing in our Constitution regarding our government providing Social Security, farm subsidies, welfare, or food stamps.
His most recent book, American Contempt for Liberty, is a compilation of essays from his syndicated columns supporting his case that Americans have developed a contempt for private property and the free enterprise system in return for a government that promises to accomplish “higher objectives” via a tyranny we have so readily accepted. Throughout his speech at Troy University, he gave examples of the legalized theft by government that society would condemn were it committed by individuals.
One such example is the Social Security system in which the government requires us to involuntarily contribute to a fund so that we hopefully have enough money in our twilight years to survive. Forget the fact that the government already does a very poor job of managing the tax dollars we provide; we’re simply supposed to trust them with funds we could better invest elsewhere. The system initially conceived as a minimal safety net has evolved into a Ponzi scheme that will collapse unless it is funded with greater contributions from those who will likely never receive what they’ve been forced to support.
In discussing the contempt for the free markets, we’ve been coerced into believing that business and its profits are evil, and that big business holds an unfair amount of power over the citizens. To the contrary, it is only when big business is enabled by our politicians in the form of subsidies and bailouts that they obtain an unfair advantage, and that isn’t a free market system – it’s called crony capitalism.
Our new tyrants of government want to eliminate the free market system with economic planning such as mandated wages, tariffs, and quotas all imposed in the name of the “public good.” True free markets contribute far more to society in providing the needs of citizens via the motivation of profits. The rise of capitalism has done more to improve and strengthen America by allowing an upward economic mobility not experienced anywhere else in the world. Yet Americans are increasingly willing to squander that ability by giving their government more and more control over every aspect of their lives.
So we fight it out election after election – each side promising more and more in government benefits in order to win elections – and the real losers are the citizens who allow the legalized theft of our private property and increased restrictions on our personal liberty.
As Dr. Williams told the audience, we can blame politicians all day long – and yes, they do shoulder a lot of the blame – but the real problem lies with Americans. After all, the politicians are doing exactly what we have elected them to do.
Marcia Chambliss serves on the leadership team of Smart Girl Politics, an online community for conservative women. She can be reached at: Marcia@sgpaction.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics.