Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Really Scares Me

By Dave Dargo

I hold to a very strict concept of the powers the national government is granted.  I recognize that the powers of the national government have become greatly expanded and most of that expansion has taken place since the 1930s.  I also recognize that many of my fellow citizens are not only comfortable with but also embrace much of that expansion of power.  I'm not convinced that many of them understand that there was an expansion of power.  I believe that many of my friends actually believe that the national government was always the way it is today.

I've heard all through my life that the U.S. Constitution needs to be interpreted to comport with modern times and today's mores.

I hold the opposite view.  I believe the U.S. Constitution has always meant to say exactly what it says and nothing more.  The U.S. Constitution was not created in order to grant rights and privileges to the people.  It was developed in order to create a limited national government so the people could have the liberty to do those things that bring them the greatest happiness and joy.

Once we started turning to the national government to help us individually, though, we started giving more power to that same national government to control our lives.  There's an interesting book written in 1954, titled, The Income Tax: Root Of All Evil; in this book, author Frank Chodorov makes an interesting observation:
A people who are intent on getting something-for-nothing from government cannot cavil over the infringement of their rights by that government; in fact, if the price demanded for the gratuities is the relinquishment of rights, they are not averse to paying it.
He asks, "What is this thing called government, which can grant and take away rights?"

His overall argument against the income tax, a direct tax, vs. indirect taxes based on consumption choices was that once the national government started taking money directly from the production of its citizens there would be no choice but for that government to grow and restrict not only the rights of the citizens but also the powers and independence of the states.

Now, one can posit legitimate arguments on both sides about the efficacy, fairness and righteousness of the national income tax.  However, it is difficult to argue that what Mr. Chodorov posited in 1954 is not an accurate reflection of the direction the national government has taken.

Bloomberg - Enemy of Liberty?
As we move from 1954 to yesterday, the 22nd of April, 2013, we see the attitude that is founded on a national government unrestricted in its powers and a citizenry beholden to that national government as a source of their rights.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "...we live in a complex world where you're going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will.  And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change."

Just to remind everyone what Benjamin Franklin wrote in Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

What does such a quote from Benjamin Franklin mean in today's world?

It means exactly what it meant "back in the olden days."  The more liberty we give up the less we become of ourselves.  The less we become of ourselves the more beholden we become to the collective for the definition of who we are and what makes us happy.

Anytime a politician of national prominence starts telling me that we need to re-interpret our Constitution I become very frightened because they've figured out:
  • They are prohibited from doing what they want to do
  • They know they can't politically get the people to grant them new powers in an appropriate manner
  • They believe the only way they can achieve their power grab is to simply change the definitions of the very documents that granted them any power to begin with, hence, Bloomberg's desire to re-interpret the Constitution
This is what scares me and, frankly, should frighten any supporter of liberty.  We need the intellectual courage to chase such oppressors from the offices they hold and strip them of the power they attempt to wield.

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