Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Statism vs Individual Freedom

I think the basic differences we have in our political discourse is a fundamental difference in the kind of government that we want.  There are extremes.. some want full state control, others want full individual liberty.  Most of us want something in the middle.  But finding that middle ground is the hard part, or so it seems, because anyone who debates any particular point of the size & scope of government is automatically assigned to one of the extremes.. They are either an authoritarian statist, or a libertarian anarchist.

I definitely lean toward the individual freedom side.. most of my opposition to government is because of too much of it.  The more the state expands & controls things, the more it takes our freedoms & responsibilities.

How do we determine if a particular issue is a good thing for our individual freedom, or is giving the state more control?  For me, a simple way is to ask if this issue protects my freedom & individuality, or does it take it & give it to the state or someone else?

Some things are a compromise.. we pay taxes to support schools, police, & firemen.  We give away some of our liberties with our money to get a service that is beneficial to all.  We expect it to be well managed, though.. we can't just give them blank checks.  But these are local services, provide by local government.  What do we expect from the federal government?  What are its basic duties?  I'll go back as i often do to the declaration of independence:

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

It is the basic function of our government to secure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We don't really need it to do something else, & that was the point of the founders of america.  Get a simple, fair, modest government that does not try to exploit us & oppress us, but protects & defends us.  Monarchies do not do this.  Marxism & socialism do not extoll the liberties of the individual.  Dictatorships & any other totalitarian states see the state as being supreme, & the individual as serving it.  That is the basic difference between statism & individualism.  If our government is promoting state centered programs, they are pursuing statism & not individual freedom.

Here's my list of modest government duties:

1. Protect & defend our lives & liberties from enemies.
2. Secure the border & manage immigration.
3. Manage interstate commerce & regulations.
4. Manage international commerce & negotiate treaties.
5. Manage & provide a sound currency.

Now let's look at some of our current problems:

1. Military involvement all over the world.
Are any of our involvements militarily because of a direct threat to our people?  No.  We should end our military meddling in the world & bring our troops home.
2. Illegal immigration.  12 million people are here illegally?  Has the government done one of it's primary funtions to secure the border & manage immigration?  No.  We need to enforce what is already in the law like all the other countries of the world do.
3. Welfare state.  It is not the function of government to be involved in charity.  Our welfare state has not decreased poverty, only institutionalized it.  It is a racist, wasteful attempt to bring equality by wealth redistribution.
4. Public debt.  If we had a modest government that protected our basic rights, & was not trying to micromanage every aspect of our lives, our government could be fiscally sound & solvent.  But government agencies are legion.  They are wasteful, inefficient, unnecessary, and do not promote the individual's freedom or responsibility.
5. Unstable currency & banking bailouts.  We have high inflation on the necessities of life, but low interest on savings.  Our government has bailed out corrupt & mismanaged financial institutions, and left us with the bill.  The dollar is staggering as gold prices indicate the dollar falling.  It is at over $1700 at this writing.  It was $35 when i was in high school.

All of these problems, and many more, are the result of the move toward statism.  The US government was more individually based for most of our history, but in the last century, we began to let the state run itself.  Every administration has increased the size & scope of government.  It has not been the problem of freedom, the constitution, or american individualism that has caused this, it has been the statists, be they socialist or capitalist, who have moved us to this point.

I don't think we need to scrap the system, i think we need to throw out the statists who have been pushing us to ruin & corrupting our system of individual liberty & freedom.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government..

It is not too late.  We can try to find honest representatives, who will promote small government, & that will preserve the individual's liberties.  We have tried 'more'.  It is time to try 'less'.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. ~Thomas Jefferson

"Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State." ~Winston Churchill

The State acquires power... and because of its insatiable lust for power it is incapable of giving up any of it. The State never abdicates. ~Frank Chodorov

And here we encounter the seeds of government disaster and collapse -- the kind that wrecked ancient Rome and every other civilization that allowed a sociopolitical monster called the welfare state to exist. ~Barry Goldwater

"Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master." ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

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