Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Case for "Small Government"

The Case for “Small Government”

The very structure of our system of government is bottom-up. The concept “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is not just a string of nice words muttered by Abe Lincoln on a civil war battlefield; the idea is the very foundation and structure of our system of government! When our founders designed our Republic, they wished to assure that the people were always involved in the decisions that would effect their lives. There were limitations at first, and those restrictions of race, color, property ownership, and gender have been remedied bit-by-bit until we now have the universal citizenship many of our founders dreamed of. But as always, the primary source of power rests in the hands of the citizens… or at least it should, that’s what this system was designed for. Today we have adjusted, tweaked, added-to and perverted our system so much that it runs like a Ford 500 engine that has so many modifications that it’s now plagued with wiring problems, leaks, and no longer has the pure horsepower it was built with. The engine was created extremely well with certain structures, restrictions, and physics and there were many good and wise reasons for this:

In part the bottom-up structure addresses a moral imperative – It ensures that an overgrown and overreaching Federal Government cannot impose its will, its dictate, and its force against a subjugated populace. A government at arm’s length cannot strike or injure the citizen.
Secondly, it addresses a spiritual aspect – I have said it many times before, and I will never tire in repeating it, our rights come to us from our creator, not the government. “Governments are instituted among me to protect those rights…” Those aren’t MY words; they are found in our own Declaration of Independence. So the rights, powers, and control come to us, the citizens, from God and we then LOAN whatever rights we wish to the government, keeping the lion’s share for ourselves.
Primarily, however, the bottom-up structure (which to this day is unique in all the world – we are the exception to the global rule of top-down governance) has a very practical and pragmatic characteristic – the larger any entity or organization grows, the more it tends to be fraught with corruption, misappropriations, avarice and greed. Ironic, that the government is the first to notice these vices in business, yet blind to its own abuses!

The cure to this is a limitation in the size of the Federal Government, to return it to the sleek powerhouse engine as it was designed… and to do so for the very same reasons government breaks up massive conglomerations and big businesses. An entire tangent could be followed at this time dealing with exactly HOW the Federal Government is in fact the single largest business in the world, or how its de facto mergers with General Electric, Chrysler, Student Loans, General Motors, AIG, Goldman Sacks, et all… is little more than one monopolistic entity gobbling up its competitors… but lets stick to the subject at hand.

Inasmuch as the citizen is the primary holder of rights in our system of government, it makes little sense to have the other major influence in our lives 3000 miles away in Washington DC. In many ways, this is precisely the resurrected argument of the 1770’s. At that time we, as English colonists, were doing quite well for ourselves. We were as self-sufficient as we could be under sometimes-unreasonable English restrictions. We had endless resources, a strong sense of community, prosperous trade and an advanced communication system that could fill the continent with news of events within a couple of weeks. Due to the advancements of printing and organized dissemination (thanks in large part to Dr. Benjamin Franklin) and the postal carriers (also under Franklin’s influence) Colonists in Charles Town South Carolina received news of the Boston Tea Party in less time than a World War Two soldier’s family would receive a letter from the front lines almost 200 years later! If we had one wish, it was that the King and Parliament would just leave us alone… to be allowed to grow the colonies as we saw fit. When the distant government started to impose taxes on us to pay off war debts and overspending by the Mother Country, most colonists weren’t as upset about the tax increases as they were insulted by the imposition without our consent – at least TALK to us about it before you levy your taxes! This is the same frustration that emerged last August during the much-reported “town hall meetings.”

So, we can settle on the fact that a distant and unengaged government can, and has tended to, act without our best interests in mind. In fact, as with any organization, the larger it grows the more evil, corrupt, and dictatorial it becomes! It can be dogmatic, draconian, and overbearing. At the same time the large infrastructure needed to support such a distant government lends itself to misappropriations, fraud, deceit, corruption, and waste. In short, a large, distant government is never EVER a good thing!

Now don’t think for a minute that we ‘smaller government’ folks want to starve children, endorse unsafe work places, or are Anarchists!! Far from it! We believe in the rule of law, and therefore know government is required to set and enforce those laws. Anarchists believe in no government at all… a bit of a fallacy in and of itself because even the wilds of the Serengeti have a type of government… the lions govern, the hyenas govern and if you are an antelope or wildebeest you are the governed. In truth, no matter where you go on this planet somebody governs someone else! The weak govern the strong; the smart govern the ignorant, and even in the “paradise” of communism, the Politburo governs the masses. What we as… I guess you would call us libertarians….desire is a balance between self-rule and government oversight. Some things we can do for ourselves…take care of our neighbors, our business, our faith, and our pursuit of happiness. We don’t need the government to tell us our coffee is hot, and if we burn ourselves… well, stuff happens! Deal with it and move on!

WE WANT A SMALLER, LESS INTRUSIVE, LESS NANNY-STATE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! For the ethical, practical, spiritual, and pragmatic reasons expressed above we want to drastically shrink the Federal Government until it is no longer involved in our everyday lives! If the federal government is so small that it doesn’t really effect our lives, then we don’t really care how ineffective or corrupt it is. Right now, unfortunately, this distant behemoth controls our incomes, our purchases, our raises, our churches, our food, or communications….EVERYTHING! Such control should never, ever, EVER be farther than a bicycle ride away! Such power should only be held by people we can personally talk to, campaign for, and address over coffee at Starbucks! Such power and control shouldn’t be in the hands of multimillionaires or huge corporations that can “buy” access and influence! The engine wasn’t made for that! We are installing that Ford 500 into a semi-trailer designed for a diesel. We are flipped on our head and attaching more wires and accessories hoping to cure the problems we’ve created. We need to flip everything back, un-capsize the boat, and totally remove all the accessories that are destroying the engine!

The question is HOW do we do it? With such a drastic strip-down required, such a resetting… how do we transform back to they system that made us the wonder of the world, the beacon of liberty to millions, and the vanguard of advancement and freedom? That will be in the next post…. Stay tuned!

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