Monday, April 13, 2009

Pot of Doled

Deteriorating Values

Money and restriction are the cure to all societal ills; or so it would seem. Unfortunately for all of us, the money comes from, and the restrictions are placed on, the same people: those who produce the wealth. While I am optimistic about the ability of the producers to rise above this double-pronged attack, I am pessimistic about what I see as the deterioration of the values of individual rights and personal responsibility by the American people as demonstrated by their implicit or outright support given to the decisions made by our elected and appointed leaders.

The Role of Government

Governments do not produce anything; all are institutions of force. Ours was carefully crafted by our founding fathers to be limited to the specific functions enumerated in the Constitution. Limiting the government to its proper role of protecting individual rights helped to create the freest, and therefore the greatest nation that ever existed.

Regardless of the fact that it prints money, the government does not create wealth. It does, however, collect wealth from those who produce it for its limited operation through taxation. In addition to this legal seizure of wealth (from those who earned it – the producers), the government also places restrictions on those producers for the ostensible reason of the promotion of the general welfare.

When the Constitution was written, it is true that the promotion of the general welfare of the people was enumerated as a function of government. James Madison, who, it must be admitted, knew a thing or two about the Constitution, understood that phrase to be limited to the powers vested in government by that document. Now, that phrase has become the tube through which all abuses of individual rights have been fed down the throats of the American public. Add a spoonful of the cloying rot of altruism, and it’s a diet designed for government obesity and an unending cycle of mandated life support supplied by the government to an increasingly malnourished population.

Expansion of Government

As the current administration jumps from plans to fix the economy, to plans to fix healthcare, to plans to fix education, to plans to fix the environment, to plans to fix our energy needs, to plans to fix homelessness etc., its plans require funding for pet projects, unearned benefits, and restrictions against individual freedoms in every proposal. All government plans happen at the expense of individual plans. All these new government proposals are vehicles for massive expansion of government intervention, funding, and control.

How long can the government and those who support its crippling actions rely on the determination of some others to rise above the excessive debt brought on by endless borrowing from the future, the eventual funding of that borrowing through increased taxation, and the onerous restrictions placed on them through arbitrary regulations? It is certainly a strange confidence given that regulatory measures seek to destroy self-reliance and individual effort by replacing them with collective blame and entitlement incentives. Don’t misunderstand me: this is not about Democrats versus Republicans; this is about Americans versus an unrecognizable, unchecked, and unprecedentedly expanding government. Our government is developing into something essentially un-American.

The American Dream

A melting pot of cultures adds to our strength; but America’s wealth is neither bottomless nor a collectivist pot. We are currently seeing the results of turning up both the heat and the pressure on the individuals who actually create the goods and services for which we are willing to, by choice, exchange our own earned wealth.

While the government gets larger every day, individual Americans are suffering under its steady junk-food diet, clinging to the idea that the government can better provide for us by judiciously doling out portions of its seized pot than we can each provide for ourselves. Clearly, enough of us thought that the politicians, through their exhortation of sacrifice, and the bureaucrats, through their attempted mandating of altruism, would help make the American dream a reality for more of us.

Can anyone still believe this to be true while we watch the opposite happen?

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