British crown or American bureaucracy? What’s the difference?
by Roger Hines
June 28, 2014 10:11 PM | 1164 views | 2 2 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As we celebrate our independence from a foreign power this week, it’s time for Americans to set our sights upon independence of a different stripe: independence from bureaucratic, regulatory government.

For too long we have stood by as liberty has been eroded and dependency has been encouraged. When a 26-year-old can be considered a dependent of his parents for health care or anything else, dependency has taken hold, liberty has waned and responsibility has vanished.

Henceforth and forevermore, I will vote only for candidates whose undergirding purpose is to perpetuate liberty. Whether president or sheriff, I’ll want to know to what extent the candidate will defend and promote liberty.

One doesn’t have to wear the Libertarian tag to view candidates this way. There was a time when our two major parties cradled and guarded liberty. The reason for the rise of libertarian voices is the creeping departure from the liberty envisioned by the signers of The Declaration. That departure is no longer creeping; it’s bolting.

Government today takes an interest in our food, drink, medicine, eating habits, property, air, insurance, our weight, our children’s lunches, our thoughts (think “hate crimes”) and certainly our pay checks. Some call it overreach, but it’s tyranny. By any name, it constitutes intrusion, inhibition of initiative and abridgement of freedom.

There are many voters who have never aligned themselves with the Libertarian Party, instead viewing libertarianism (not libertinism) as a strain fitly falling within the pale of representative republicanism. Truth be known, the Declaration signers — radicals all — were closer to what libertarians are espousing today than they were to what our two major parties have become: guardians of a regulatory state.

It was a Republican administration that gave us the Environmental Protection Agency, that nemesis of small and big business alike. It was a Democratic administration that gave us the Department of Education which, though just a paper tiger, is still able to woo state officials into accepting its millions, on the paper tiger’s terms of course. (Think Common Core.)

It was a Republican administration that gave us No Child Left Behind, turning the joyous magic of teaching and learning into test preparation, data collecting and autopsy reporting. It was Democrats (only) that gave us the indecipherable, unaffordable Affordable Care Act.

So what do we have? Two major parties that offer an echo, not a choice; that possess little will or desire to seriously check government’s expansion and power, and that differ more in degree than in principle.

The signers believed in the rule of law, but they hated monarchy. They believed in government, but they experienced and disdained its long arm. It irked them to know their tyrant was an entire ocean away. Is it hard, then, to understand why many modern Americans, sons and daughters of a frontier people in a vast continental nation, would eventually turn their thoughts to the strong symbolism of the Boston Tea Party? America’s preference for localism is longstanding.

The signers also knew that rules are the price we pay for civilization, yet they fashioned a document that drew a hedge around the rules. In so doing, they posed the question, “Is man made for government, or is government made for man?” The resulting balance was brilliant, and the document still stands, but from all indications, administrations from both parties have allowed it to gather dust.

British monarchy was to the signers what the IRS, EPA, DOE, BLM and literally hundreds of other agencies are to Americans today. King George ruled with scepter and sword. American presidents rule with faceless agencies that harass, threaten and discriminate. The mess at the VA, the IRS, plus Obamacare, all clearly illustrates how government by bureaucracy infringes upon liberty.

Liberty is a precious thing. For millennia, illiterate masses knew nothing of it. Peasantry was the norm. Melancholy was the order of the day. In ancient Egypt, China, Greece and Rome, forced labor built the edifices that freedom-loving tourists enjoy today. Actually, liberty is still a newfangled idea.

It was the ancient Jews who developed the concept that priests and kings were subject to a law higher than man’s. It was Greek dramatist Sophocles who placed on the lips of his heroine, Antigone, the following words when she had to defy her earthly king:

“Your edict, King, was strong.

But all your strength is weakness against

The immortal laws of God.

His laws are not merely now; they were and are

Operative forever, beyond man, utterly.”

The concerns of libertarians should give us pause. An understanding of liberty’s short history should heighten this week’s celebrating and inform this year’s voting.

Roger Hines is a retired high school English teacher in Kennesaw.

Comments
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This sucks
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July 18, 2014
How about when those politicians you support do something to bring the jobs back to our young people that they can get work after college or out of high school and work their way up in the world and not be dependent on their famlies for help? This is not the 1950's when the American dream was alive, that crumbled starting in the 1980's when the unions that got the living wages and created the dream came under attack by the same people you support! So if your generation where in the younger ones today you would see it differently, you lived through an age of grown in US history where hardwork and dedication were enough, now we work ourselves to death 40, 50, 60 hours a week and still can't afford to live decently, I make 50000 a year, and live WELL below my means, that is a small apartment in the safest area I could afford, the cheapest vehicle to get back and forth to work only, I don't party, I don't go out I go home to my dog and that is all, and between those 2, the rising in utilities, rising food cost, gas costing a fortune, and the rising cost of car insurance (which you all think it is OK to make a law saying you must have car insurance, but that someone would ahve to have health insurance that is "wrong"), health insurance is provived through work so they benefit from the tax breaks (which FAR exeed the cost or the healthcare) and paying off school money doesn't go far. The only real luxury I can afford is cable TV! I don't waste my money I grew up dirt poor, where we had to grow it or we didn't eat anything, so today I'm WELL beyond that as far as living, but I always know to save and live tight on the money front. A little help when I was 26 would have been great on the healtcare front. I was out of college trying to find a job and I got very sick and there was no one there to help me with the most important thing and that was healthcare! I was bounced from Dr to Dr because I wasn't insured, it delayed treaments which made me sicker, even though I'm still paying that off today, it would have helped me be on my feet faster had I been able to go back on another policy
William Osborne
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June 29, 2014
While I do not disagree with the substance of the article in any way, he misses one important source for the Western concept of liberty: the checks and balances of the Roman Republic. In fact, the founders of the nation credited Marcus Tullius Cicero, the great orater, with the inspiration for our own system of checks and balances.
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