Today’s Guest Saturday post comes by way of the A Conservative Teacher blog. In this essay he reminds us that government is not the solution to people’s woes; but freedom. This article was originally published on Sunday, January 27, 2013.
Man is Born Free, and Everywhere He is in Chains… Let’s Break the Chains and Be Great Again
As I sat at a local government meeting recently, I was struck by how amazing people are and therefore why it is so wrong for other people to make decisions for them regarding their lives or property. Man (and woman) are amazing creatures- when free.
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains,” or so said Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but I think I might modify this statement to say “Man is born free and is amazing, but everywhere he has been chained by government.”
Too many people believe that the goal of government is to make people better- but I reject this because I believe that people are already made by their Creator as great as they are ever going to be. When born, we all are free individuals, making free choices, respecting the lives of others, and understanding basic ideas about ownership of property (ever heard a kid say ‘that’s mine!’). When left alone, free to make choices about what to do and what to do with their labor and what to do with their own property, people make amazing decisions and become amazing people.
At my local government meeting- the sort of meeting that is held in every city and every county and every state capital every month- we have honored businessmen, journalists, charitable people, sports champions, and many others who do great things with their lives, liberty, and property. This, I believe, is not unique to my experience alone- there are lots of great and amazing people out there, everywhere in every nation, because God has made us great.
But what happens is that other people begin to gain power and control over their fellow man, believing that in their infinite greatness and amazingness that they are better than other people and better and more empowered to make decisions over these lesser people’s lives and property. Whether because of their history, their skin color, their connections to money or force- these people have deluded themselves into thinking that they are better at making decisions about someones life and property than the other person.
The purpose of government is not to make me better, to make decisions for me, to control my labor, or to take the fruits of my labor and distribute them to others- the purpose of the government is only to get out of my way and protect my own innate God-given abilities to keep and earn property, to make decisions, and to live.
Government- get out of the way of greatness! People- stop putting chains on your fellow man and holding them back! Republicans and Democrats- stop using the force of the state to restrict my personal decisions regarding my own life and property!
This is not just rhetoric- these are the principles which lead to proper policy decisions. Tax rates should be lower and equal for everyone, whether that is a flat income tax at the national level or a sales tax at the state level. Charity should be provided by private institutions and private individuals, instead of having the government inefficiently run food stamp programs and other charity programs that are rife with fraud and corruption. Guns should be free to be bought- or not bought- by free people making free decisions, and those who use guns to take property or life or liberty should face harsh judgement. Those who violate the life, liberty, or property of others should be removed from society (sent to jail) until they learn and believe in these concepts, and not just released after an arbitrary amount of time (usually early). People should be able to build a building or expand their business free from government interference. Automakers should not be told what sort of cars they must build and individuals should not be told what sort of cars they must buy- rather free people making free decisions should be empowered in the process and the government should work to protect that freedom and liberty and property from danger from others within (criminals) or without (foreign invasion).
Real policy decisions- good policy decisions- flow from knowing and understanding and believing in the greatness of people. We need to unleash the greatness of people once more, and stop putting them in chains of laws and regulations and slavery (making someone work against their will for others). Let’s make man free again and throw off the chains to which Obama and the Democrats and Republicans would bind us! Let us here and now tell our enemies that they may take our lives and they make take our property but they’ll never take OUR FREEDOM!