And by “government”, I of course mean any of those people who wield government power, and work to convince their constituents that whenever “something must be done”, it must be done by government. Unfortunately, far too many people have bought into the idea that government is not just a guarantor of our rights, but the provider of them as well. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As Rich Hrebic pointed out in his 22 July 2009 column on the American Thinker website: “A right is not a guarantee that the government (i.e., other people) will provide you something for free…What makes something a right is not whether the government can force somebody else to pay for it. What defines something as a right is whether the government can or cannot prohibit you from doing it. If the government can’t stop you from doing it, then it’s a right.”
Rush Limbaugh expanded upon Hrebic’s article on his radio show that same day: “And rights came from God. We’re all endowed by our Creator to certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.”
Our founders understood well the perils that government power presents. The best ever description of government comes from Thomas Paine: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Yes, government has necessary functions, but in order to fund those functions, it must first commit the evil act of violating our individual liberty by forcibly taking our personal property. Which is why the Founders set up a system that minimized that evil as much as possible, and required ALL citizens to contribute EQUALLY in order to be protected EQUALLY.
Government, therefore – by definition – cannot be compassionate, or charitable, or empathetic. The best that can be hoped for is for a government to be fair and impartial. And the only system in which a fair and impartial government is remotely possible is a constitutional democratic republic. A system of LIMITED government. And the only such system on Earth exists here in America. But even in our system, we see, as our forefathers feared, the expansion of government power and its resulting encroachment upon individual liberties.
Fair and impartial doesn’t mean that the government provides some service to some segment of the population who might be in need. In order to do that, then the government needs to take from one person in order to provide that service to the needy person. That’s because the government has no money of its own, only that which it collects from the public via taxes, fees, etc. But when the government uses those tax dollars to fund anything that doesn’t serve the interests of EVERY citizen, then that’s a problem.
In fact, the founders were very careful to specify in the Constitution the very few things the federal government is allowed to do. Beyond that, the 10th Amendment is very clear: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So, while our elected representatives are required to represent our interests, they don’t have to do whatever any constituent or group of constituents asks or demands of them. Actually, they are not even permitted to do it, if it will not serve the best interests of every single citizen. They are expressly forbidden from doing it, if it will infringe upon the rights of even one individual.
Any attempt to fix any “problem”, address any “need”, pay any “bill”, provide any “service”, contribute to any “cause”, or right any perceived “wrong” needs to be weighed against two simple questions (which are actually two different ways to ask the same question):
1. Does the Constitution allow it?
2. Will it infringe upon the rights of any individual?
Beyond those questions, everything else is moot. It doesn’t matter how compelling the need, or how persuasive an argument someone can make, or especially how it will affect worldwide opinion of America…NOTHING justifies trampling the rights of ANY individual American citizen. Period. Upon this there can be no debate. Unless the Constitution is amended, nothing beyond the few governmental duties it lays out can be allowed to happen.
There’s nothing “compassionate” or “fair” about taking money by force from someone who’s earned it and giving it to someone else who hasn’t. This misdefinition of “compassion” and “fairness” is insidious…an evil perpetrated by those who seek power over the fortunes and lives of others, in order to advance their own selfish interests and/or to unconstitutionally address some issue that is important to them.
Unless you’re willing to do it on your own, or convince other individuals to do it for you or with you of their own free will, then it simply doesn’t matter what you want, as far as the federal government is concerned. You have no right to coerce others to involuntarily do what you think needs to be done, either through your own use of force, or through the use of government force.
If you have an issue that is important to you, you are well within your rights to pursue that issue with your own time and money and effort. You can attempt to persuade as many people as possible to join with you, but you have no right to FORCE anyone else to participate. The minute you use the power of government to force others into giving up any of their own time or money or effort involuntarily to support that cause, then that is doing two things:
1. Showing that you don’t truly care about the issue, since you aren’t willing to do what it takes on your own to address it.
2. Infringing upon the individual liberties of your fellow citizens.
The first is not really an issue in and of itself, until it leads to the second. That is when every freedom-loving citizen needs to put his foot down and stand up for individual liberty. The smallest encroachment upon individual liberty is STILL an encroachment upon individual liberty, and must therefore not be tolerated.
We are no longer a free nation, and actually have not been since not long after our country’s founding. It didn’t take long for politicians to realize that they could buy votes and thus secure their own political power with a variety of government handouts. We need elected officials who recognize that not only does the Constitution not allow such abuses of individual liberties, but that it expressly forbids them. And they must be made to pay, politically or otherwise, for perpetrating such abuses.
Those who clamor and lobby for such abuses cannot be held responsible for their occurrence. It is completely reasonable to scorn and ridicule them for such demands, but they are not ultimately responsible themselves for those abuses. Only those who misuse government power to carry out those abuses are directly responsible, and they should never be allowed after even one occurrence to be forgiven for it, or to attain a position again that would allow them to trample any more individual liberties.
We have rights not BECAUSE of government, but DESPITE government. And we need to put government back in its rightful place of minimal power and influence over our lives. As the saying goes, the smallest minority in the world is the individual. And the individual must be protected at all costs…despite what you may think, or want.