Making Government Our Master

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Why is it that so many people fail to see the dangers in giving increasing power & authority to the government, of becoming more & more dependent upon it for our livelihoods and well-being? Can’t they see how this will bite them (and their children) in the butt, later if not sooner? Senator Jim DeMint addresses this in his book Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide into Socialism (which I highly recommend, by the way).

big, rusty chain links

“It is difficult for people who are worried about their next paycheck or mortgage payment to make the connections between the expansion of government and the increasing burden of taxes; or to understand how decisions by government have increased the cost of gas, food, and electricity; or how government schools have led to the decline of the quality of education and career advancement opportunities; or how laws and regulations have increased the difficulty in finding affordable health insurance; or how high taxes, lawsuits, and overregulation have led to the loss of American competitiveness and jobs.

‘None but the people can forge their own chains; and to flatter the people and delude them by promises never meant to be performed is the stale but successful practice of the demagogue.’
— John Randolph

Ironically, as Americans have begun to feel more pain caused by the mismanagement and expansion of government, we still call on the government for relief. We don’t seem to know where else to turn.

People will not fight for freedom unless they understand it, value it, and believe it is at risk. Americans and freedom-loving people around the world must develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of freedom. To the oppressed, freedom may simply mean escape from their oppressors. To the poor, freedom may be the deliverance from want. To the anxious, freedom is synonymous with security.”

As I type this up, I can’t help but think about the current unrest in Egypt and the people demonstrating and demanding the ouster of the dictator, President Hosni Mubarak. I’m not sure about security, but poverty and oppression seem to be the major incentives for the Egyptians wanting to get rid of a corrupt, 30-year-old regime. I just hope the people don’t get hoodwinked into supporting someone else who talks a good talk, makes lots of promises, then proves to be just as corrupt and even more dangerous — for them, their neighbors, and the world.

“These desires to be free from difficulty and anger are understandable, but they have led to a willingness to make government our master. Politicians with mostly good intentions have promised to help with more government solutions, but unless these leaders and policymakers develop a better understanding of freedom, their good intentions will continue to destroy not only our freedom but the very people they are trying to help.”

One doesn’t need to have a degree in economics to understand this. If more people took the time to study a bit of history, they would see how often even well-intentioned government programs, for various reasons, just don’t live up to the promises and often make things worse — from FDR’s New Deal to LBJ’s War on Poverty to bailouts and subsidies.

As a final thought, I’m sure you have seen the following Ronald Reagan quotes (or variations thereof) a lot lately, but I think they’re apropos:

“[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”     — First Inaugural Address, 1/20/1981

“The ten most dangerous words in the English language are ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.'”
— Remarks to Future Farmers of America, 7/28/1988

To be continued…

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