Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What Do We Mean by Limited Government

We Constitutionalists often talk about the need for limited government.  We often cite Thomas Jefferson's famous saying that "A government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take everything you have..."  Indeed, unlimited government is most obvious every April 15th, and with the mounting debt burden.  Such a debt places us all in jeopardy of becoming slaves to those foreigners who hold our debt.  It is assumed that a government acting solely within the scope of duties delegated to the Federal Government by the States in the Constitution will therefore necessarily be limited, and the problems we currently have with debt will be more manageable.  While such is not guaranteed, it is more likely.  But there is another aspect of limited government that I think nags at nearly everyone, be they conservative, libertarian, or liberal.  That is the number of laws with which we don't necessarily agree, or find violate our own principles, that are being executed in our name.

Right now, I have a so-called "Representative" who is a committed Progressive, and who votes for things that I find repugnant to my principles as a Constitutionalists.  Oh, I write to him to express my opinions, and on occasion he writes back.  Not in so many words of course, but reading the meaning, what he usually says is that when he wants my opinion, he'll send some goons to beat it out of me.  He and Mr. Obama see eye to eye apparently.  Now, for the "But Bush (fill in the blank)" crowd, I found much of the stuff he did equally anti-Constitutional and repugnant to my principles. Indeed, if you followed Sunday's post, you will discover that this has been going on since before I was born, and getting more pronounced with each passing year.  But this is not merely a problem for us Constitutionalists.  In the next district over, they have elected a Tea Party candidate.  All of the liberals and the Progressives who live in that district have the same problem as I do; a Representative who doesn't represent them.

The solution, for everyone, is limited government; fewer laws and less regulations that deal only with those things delegated by the States to the Federal Government.  In the American Thinker today, Tom Roberson has an article entitled Overachievers with Low Self Esteem. It is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at some of the recent attempts to impose other's ideas of how we ought to be living on all of us.  An example:

Michelle Obama's weight problem and lack of self-control is channeled into a childhood obesity campaign to rid us of high-calorie foods she can't resist. The reasoning that if they don't exist, Mrs. Obama won't be tempted. Sorry, Michelle, but you'll just find something else to eat...so get over it and embrace the salad bar
Now, Mrs. Obama is free to yammer on all she likes about eating healthily, but when it is enacted into law, or policy, that is when I object. It is clearly outside the scope of the Constitution. Wouldn't it be better to leave menu choices to private individuals? The so-called "experts" certainly don't have a great track record when it comes to deciding for us. I remember when low fat was the thing. Then Atkins came along and showed that low carbohydrates were more effective. Who knows what will come next? It is better, I think, to let everyone decide for himself. But Tom Roberson says it quite well:

Now we've got a government that forces us to use detergents that won't clean, low-flow toilets that won't flush, pesticides and herbicides that don't kill, food with no taste, and light bulbs with bad light. They also want us to use unreliable and expensive energy such as solar, wind, and ethanol, while pretending that our vast coal, oil, and natural gas reserves don't really exist or are too dangerous for the environment. We're supposed to trust these idiots? "Green" has become a codeword for "useless" on product labels, warning consumers to look elsewhere if they need an effective product.

Personally, I'm sick of the government trying to keep me safe and do my thinking for me. I like a little danger and excitement every once in a while to let me know I'm still alive. I want to ignore the label warnings and use a product in a manner inconsistent with the directions. I want to rip the tag off my mattress and ride my bicycle without a helmet. These trifling brushes with danger are made exciting by the fact that the elitist power set have sucked all the fun out of life with their endless rules and regulations.
Of course, there are more serious issues over which the philosophical divide is so great as to never be resolved.  Some people believe the TSA keeps us safe at airports, and are therefore willing to undergo massive intrusions upon their persons.  I do not share that belief, and instead would rather take my chances with a terrorist.  How to resolve it?  I would suggest getting rid of the one size fits all TSA and instead return to having the individual airlines perform such security as the market will bear.  The airlines will find solutions that do not involve groping at the risk of going to jail, I assure you.  Guns are another issue, that the framers had solved with the Second Amendment.  Those who believed guns were efficacious were free to own such guns as they desired without infringement.  Those who equally believed guns were evil were free to not own them, or to have them in their homes.  The framers wisely recognized that everyone took risks whenever one went abroad in public.  Problem solved until the Government began acting outside the scope of Constitutional powers.

That is what we mean by the term "limited government."

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