THE GROWING POWER OF GOVERNMENT AND THE THREAT TO LIBERTY: ELECTION 2016

declaration of independence

OF A POST TO COME promised to compare the governing approaches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with respect to two issues.

  • The growth of the power of government.
  • The protection of our rights.

The Growth Of The Power Of Government

Why is it a problem when government is powerful? Government exists to protect our rights. Yet the power we give our government makes government itself a threat to our rights. Therefore, we must choose between giving the government just enough power and giving it too much.

  • To give our government the resources it needs to defend our rights, we must give our leaders the authority to tax us and spend our money. Nevertheless, the more we allow our government to tax and spend, the more we work for government instead of ourselves. At some point, we risk slavery.
  • Some decisions which effect a people must be made jointly. Thus, government must sometimes make decisions we would otherwise make for ourselves. So it is that in a nation of free men and women, we have laws that restrict us from harming each other (traffic laws, for example). In a nation of slaves, however, the laws just list a few trivial decisions that the leaders permit the people to make for themselves.

Here is a table that summarizes where the candidates stand.  Not certain the information is correct? Then check their web sites. I have only provided links where their positions are not available on their own websites.

ISSUE Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Taxing and Spending Favors tax simplification and reduction Favors increased taxation and spending (inferred from lengthy list of proposals)
Healthcare Private market solution Doubling down on Obamacare
School Choice For School Choice. Will end Common Core Against School Choice. Favors Common Core.
Immigration Favors extreme vetting Open borders/put new immigrants on the dole
Government Regulations Committed to reducing regulations Defends the current regulatory regime
Free Trade Opponent of the big trade bills Helped to craft TPP

To be continued: The Protection Of Our Rights

GOVERNMENT-GIVEN RIGHTS VERSUS GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS — PART 1

United States Declaration of Independence (from here)
United States Declaration of Independence (from here)

What is the defining issue in our elections, including the elections of 2016? We essentially have two opposing causes: those who would further increase the power of the state and those who would only use the power of government to protect individual rights. Who is winning? Since the power of the state has grown hugely over the last century, we must conclude that the Statists are winning.

An Appropriate Label?

We know people who call themselves Conservatives and Tea Party activists, people who say they favor constitutional, limited government. When we apply these labels, do we always use the expressions Conservative and Tea Party activists correctly? No, but the expressions do mean something, and there are plenty of people who identify as Conservatives and Tea Party activists, but who calls himself a Statist? Almost no one.

Nevertheless, large numbers of people call for government-run this, government-run that, and government-run everything else. Such people often call themselves Progressives, Liberals, or Socialists, and they argue that at least some aspects of government must be socialist in character. Hence Progressives, Liberals, and Socialists and their sympathizers advocate Socialism.

Here is an example of how those “Socialists” excuse their advocacy of big government. They abuse the definitions of the terms.

What is the difference between socialism and statism (www.answers.com)

Statism: the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.

Socialism: An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise

Socialism is mostly economic and Statism is both economic and political. All Socialists are Statists but not all Statists are Socialist (Case in point: Iran, Statist but not officially Socialist)

Therefore, Socialists object to being labelled as Statists because Socialism is only an economic model, not both a political and an economic model. Yet that is as dishonest as saying one is only a little bit pregnant. Both Statism and Socialism employ the same fundamental principle, that the state must define and provide for the rights of the individual.

Conservatives hold God gives us our rights, and these are rights that relate to body and soul. Because God created us and we belong to Him, we owe Him our service. Our obligations are to Him, and He has given each of us the choice of serving willingly. Hence we each have God-given Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Declaration of Independence).

Statists, however, view rights as commodities, merely things given to us by the state. This, of course, is a materialistic and secular view of rights that leaves God out. Once we do that (leave God out), we start seeing each other as objects, and we start enslaving each other.

Even Atheists can see the difficulties of Statism.  Ayn Rand is famous for her books advocating individual rights, including her definition of statism.

Statism (aynrandlexicon.com)

The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.

Rand blamed this sort of “altruism” on Christianity, but the Bible never speaks of involuntary, state sponsored altruism. Besides, Statism does not require altruism as an excuse. That propaganda is just peculiar to Communism and Socialism. The Nazis did not spend much effort faking altruism.

Nevertheless, both Theists and Non-theists reach the same conclusion.  Whether we recognize our rights as coming from God or not, when we use the government to give people their “rights” (commodities such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, an education, a job, and so forth), we must sacrifice the inherent rights of the individual to do so, and that adds up to Statism.

What Is Next?

Ideally, I suppose I would have come up with this series and happily used it to promote a specific candidate. Well, I am not entirely happy with any of the candidates. The only one I regard as coming close to being a true Constitutional Conservative is Ted Cruz. Unfortunately, I am not entirely certain the founders would have regarded him as a natural born citizen. I think Cruz believes he qualifies (see here).

How would the courts would decide? Because they would gag on the primary rationale for denying him his rights as a natural born citizen the courts almost certainly would regard him as one (Natural Born Citizen and Naturalized Citizen Explained). So I chuckled at the unpleasant irony and voted for him in the Virginia Presidential Primary.

Because, we have a dearth of honest Conservatives willing to run for public office — because no man is good — we have hard choices. We must choose between the least of evils. We cannot simply do nothing.

So what is next?

  • What Does The Bible Teach About Rights?
  • How Well Does Statism Work?
  • How Do We Choose The Best Candidate?

References

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS — a reblog

moneytreeWhen I wrote WORSHIP OF THE GOD OF STUFF — A reblog, I got an interesting comment that inspired this reblog. It reminded me that some smart people who really should know better cannot figure out the difference between the government dole and honest charity. So it is that generosity with “other people’s money” is destroying our country.

The government dole stems from covetousness, not charity. Covetousness violates the 10th commandment.

Exodus 20:17 New Revised Standard Version

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND GOVERNMENT — PART 2 represents my meager effort to explain the intersection of the 10th commandment and government. Keith DeHavelle, not a religious person, approaches the subject from a different direction. Nevertheless, it is well worth seeing where he ends up.

Greed

Some random thoughts on free enterprise, expanded from a comment to yesterday’s post.

Does free enterprise, usually called “capitalism” because of Karl Marx’s influence, depend upon greed? No, in fact. The expression “it depends heavily on greed” is counterfactual in my opinion.  Consider:

If I want to make money in the free market, I must serve my fellow humans in a manner they find valuable. I can natter on about how much I want all day, and it will avail me nothing.

Only if they value the good or service or labor, and feel that it benefits them, will they ignoretheir greed and help me reach my goals.

All transactions in the free market, from paying or working for a wage, to inventing and selling a product, to providing a service from home cleaning or health insurance, is a win-win as long as it is a voluntary transaction by both parties and uncorrupted by government coercion.

Knowledge

The result of these win-win transactions is added wealth, innovation, and most cruciallyknowledge — knowledge shared, either directly or because it is built-in to the product, service or labor we provide each other in opposition to any greed we might feel.

The difference between how we live now and a thousand years ago, or a hundred thousand years ago, is knowledge. We are physically and mentally essentially the same over those time spans, but free enterprise has brought us into a new world to the great benefit of society.

The growth of knowledge happened despite government domination for millennia, and made slow, incremental progress. In China, for example, it was a capital offense for hundreds of years to know how a water-clock worked. As each dynasty was replaced, the ministers who could build and maintain the clocks were often simply executed. And they started over.

Knowledge is not just power, it is wealth and well-being. And it has been been the reason that governments and would-be tyrants like Marx and his disciples worked to concentrate knowledge into the hands of a few “masterminds” at great cost to society. And the proponent of these systems often describe them as “altruistic.” (continued here)

WHAT ARE EACH OF US DOING TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY AND THE WORLD?

fatter_disaster

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless. — President Abraham Lincoln (Annual Message to Congress —
Concluding Remarks, given on December 1, 1862; from here)

Lincoln spoke these words about two and a half months after the Battle of Antietam. The South had tried to take the war to the North, and Union forces had repulsed the invaders. Nevertheless, in a single day, almost 23,000 Americans were suddenly dead, wounded, or missing. When the path ahead promised still more dead, wounded, or missing, Lincoln called for a calm resolve to save the Union. Amazingly, the People listened. If we had been the People Lincoln spoken to, would we have listened?

We imagine the trials of our time to be difficult, and in a way they are. Although most of us have not been called upon to bleed in a bloody war, we struggle against our own apathy, the innumerable temptations we subject ourselves to, the culture of indifference we help to create, the feeling of powerlessness we cultivate as an excuse for inaction, the bafflement that arises from our lack of concern, … we struggle against the weaknesses of our own humanity and our own making.

Many of us do not even see any problems. We refuse to see. We insist our little world will continue as it is just because that is the way we have always known it.

Because we may not want to do so, we may never consider the possibility God made each of us for a purpose. In fact, just so we don’t have to think, to contemplate why we exist, we may deliberately fill each moment of our lives with busyness, with aimless bustle and hustle and with passive entertainment.

Born-again Christians have no excuse for aimless busyness or inertia. We know enough to stop and pray. We know we must take time to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10). We know enough to seek His Will. We know “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”

Ephesians 2:1-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Our Lord even gave us His own example.

Mark 10:42-45 English Standard Version (ESV)

42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

But too many do not practice our Lord’s example. So we live in a time of unraveling.

Would you like proof? Then consider. Are we eager to serve others, or do we wish to be served? When we vote, do we vote to further our own interests or the interests of our neighbors?

Contemplate our leaders. Don’t we elect people whose values reflect our own? Do our leaders serve us, or do they contrive to make us serve them?

When we vote — before we cast our ballot — each of us needs to ask our self a question. Is the person I am voting for helping me to serve my country, or is he buying my vote?

Are we willing to participate as best we can in public life? Do we take seriously the words of President John F. Kennedy?

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. (from here)

No? Then when our leaders enslave us, what right will we have we to complain?