Taxes are too high. Taxes are too low. Healthcare is too expensive. Healthcare is too poor. Drugs should be legal. Drugs should be illegal. Pro-choice, pro-life, you can probably see where this is going. There are a lot of questions that citizens have about society and its laws and an equal amount of opinions, and the government seeks to answer them all. There must be something wrong with the system though, for every decision made seems to have an equal share of praise and loathe.
Every so often the power shifts in Washington and the agenda of those in power is pursued vigorously for a few years. As soon as the people are fed up with that scheme another one is voted in to office. Inevitably this “new” party of hope and change doesn’t amount to much either and again, the people will re-elect the notions of the first party. We play a game of political chess where those who have their temporary power put as much of their ideals into affect as possible, until the next comes in and changes it. On and on we go without ever truly going anywhere.
Republicans and Democrats swear up and down that they completely oppose each other, based on principle, on creed, on anything they can disagree on. They claim to be the antithesis of the other, but neither of the parties really separates itself in policy. We’ve become so accustomed to having these as the only power brokers in Washington; we don’t consider that these parties are really just two subsets of the same party, two sides of the same coin, the Federalists.
When viewing the small picture we lose sight that although the parties disagree on how to implement big government they absolutely believe in an enormous, all-powerful government and only disagree on how it should be implemented. The question is never raised of why the income tax still exists; only how much it should be. Neither asks why we’ve maintained a war on drugs for decades, which has only led to greater drug problems and interventionism in other nations. They only argue about which substances should be legal or not. Remember that alcohol was legal until prohibition, then illegal for a time, then legalized again. Again, the federal government only asks which drugs should be legal, not if they should be making those decisions at all.
Now this ideal of an all-powerful federal government may not apply to true Republicans, as that party would denounce such efforts to expand federal control, but the platform of the current “Republican” party as it has been for several decades and as we know it today, is very much attached to the idea of expansive control and as such they belong to the same Federalist party.
The federal government attempts to make its business as many decisions as possible. Why? Quite simply it doesn’t believe that the decisions it makes should be made by citizens, the very people who are most affected by them. This should strike people as a gross injustice and a hypocritical gesture. The very organization which is the pinnacle of inefficiency and poor decision-making is making your personal decisions.
The Republicans and Democrats both preach that the government is the sole entity in place to run an effective market, to implement changes for “the common good”, to make the tough decisions. This strikes me as being counter-intuitive. Anyone who’s ever been employed by local, state, or federal government knows the inefficiency and bureaucracy of it. The red tape, the legal jargon, the blanket regulations and poor decision-making process. In fact, I would argue that citizens are the only entity that should make those tough decisions. It is the citizens who are most affected by policy; therefore, shouldn’t they have a more concerned interest to make the best decisions possible for themselves?
There is a reason why so many government tasks are outsourced to the private sector, because government simply doesn’t handle business very well. This is not to say that there aren’t intelligent people in those positions, merely that the government is bogged down in regulation which prevents it from implementing policy in a timely and effective manner. Generally speaking, the federal government has stepped out of its lane and cannot quickly or easily recover from costly mistakes. Again, I bring up the point of inefficiency and bureaucracy.
In order to further this point I will provide a short list of some of the policies and departments put into affect that have had far reaching negative consequences for the tax payer and individual liberty. Keep in mind that a policy is much harder to repeal than it is to implement. Those placed in power tend to stay in power; the same is true for policy no matter how bad it may be. Here are a few:
The Federal Reserve, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the income tax, social security, gun control, the Patriot Act, welfare, and the war on drugs. These are but a few examples. I will not burden the reader with an overwhelming account of all poor policies in the U.S.
All of these programs were intended to be for “the common good” and that seems to be a recurring theme in the U.S. They have all strayed very far from their original intentions though. Not because of you or me, because those “watchdogs” we put in charge of monitoring them have allowed them to become an enormous presence and burden on taxpayers. Regardless of their intentions they have become overbearing and unsustainable.
Some will cry out that these programs and policies aren’t bad, that they are pleasant or even needed. Some will shrug their shoulders and continue not caring, but some will have a lingering suspicion that maybe something is wrong. I will tell you that there absolutely is something wrong. How can it be possible that a politician in Washington knows what is best for a farmer in Idaho, a mechanic in Michigan, a stay-at-home Mom in Tennessee, or even another politician in Washington?
Blanket policies rarely have the desired effect or support of the public. This is because America is not simply one big nation that shares all the same beliefs. We know that there are regions in America with differing values, beliefs, cultures, and ideals. The Northeast and the Southeast, the Midwest and the Southwest, the West Coast and rural America, all these regions share a unifying theme (America), but vary greatly in beliefs.
The U.S. is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of sheer land mass and population. America covers more area than the entire continent of Europe. Anyone with a passing familiarity of Europe knows that each country is unique, with its own ideals and code of ethics, values and beliefs. This is because of segmentation. Like-minded people tend to stay together, thus allowing for differences in beliefs, attitudes, and cultures. This is one of the facts that made America so great. There are so many cultures and regions, yet all live under one national roof. This doesn’t dictate that all will agree on everything, and that’s fine, we don’t have to agree on everything as long as we co-exist peacefully.
So how can we maintain a unified America and still live in a land of differing beliefs? I’ve devised a simple, implementable plan that would give voice to all, that would allow one to maintain his or her beliefs without encroaching on the beliefs of another, a plan that would breed economic prosperity while promoting individual liberties and freedom. Sounds too good to be true, I know, but I assure you it is very simple. Even better, it only takes two words to describe and one of them is “the”. The other is “constitution”, put them together and you have “The Constitution”.
Whoa, calm down, I know that’s a completely radical idea that would never work in today’s age, in fact it’s almost blasphemous. The Federalists would have nothing to do with it. It’s clearly a broken system and was intended for a time long before ours. You see, we’re enlightened now and know that silly notions like individual responsibility, hard work, and choice are a thing of the past. Let’s not harbor ideas that clearly are outdated, instead let’s continue to promote the ideals of ultimate government control, for they are the only capable means of living your life.
Again, the few of you who were skeptical earlier are even more skeptical now. You’re right to be. As we’ve clearly seen, the path that we have allowed our government to dictate to us for the past hundred years has all led to a socialist nation incapable of protecting liberty and freedom, the very essence of America. We have suffered countless atrocities to our freedoms in the name of “national security”. We have become a nation of beggars looking for handouts, and have become dependent on the Federalists to make all our tough decisions. Decisions once held in contemplation by ordinary citizens are no longer discussed at even the state level.
The Constitution is very clear in its definitions of federal power. It grants the federal government very little unifying power and gives control almost entirely to individual states. There’s that idea again, you know the one about regions and differing beliefs. The founders knew that there would be different beliefs and ideals in many regions, we call them states. The decision was made to give power to the states for the express purpose of preventing the federal government from encroaching on cultural (state) beliefs. Article 10 of the Constitution declares;
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
For those unfamiliar with the language and grammar of the day, this simply means that power not given (delegated) to the federal government, and not prohibited by the Constitution, is given to the state to decide. Remember, the purpose of the Constitution is not to deny freedom to citizens; it is to deny power to the government. Think about that, the individuals who founded America purposely limited the role of government in order to allow the people to govern themselves at a local level.
Under this light, individuals have infinite rights, and the federal government is very limited in its rights. In fact the sole responsibility of the federal government, according to this doctrine that we pretend to respect, is to protect our freedoms, not impose their will upon us.
What this means for states is that they have the right to declare their own laws, independent of the federal government. States can choose on their own merit whether or not citizens may or may not do this or that, so long as the state doesn’t violate any rights set forth in the Constitution.
We have obviously strayed very far from this mentality. Why? Is it more convenient to allow the government to encroach upon our liberties in exchange for making those tough decisions? Are all the taxes, legislation, and regulations worth losing our freedoms over in order to avoid the headache of maintaining a working republic? Some would say yes, again the Federalists have spoken. Allow the federal government to make all the tough decisions that we as citizens don’t want to think about, and in exchange all we have to do is give up endless amounts of money and freedom.
I reject this notion. Giving power back to the states, which they rightfully possess, would allow groups of citizens (states, regions) to live and enjoy life as they see fit, so long as they do not violate another’s rights in the process. This may sound like some sort of utopian society, but we followed that creed for far longer than we have lived with our current iron-fist society. Of course these Federalist detractors would denounce that and declare that people are either too lazy, too stupid, or incapable or leading their lives in a respectable manner. You’ll never hear it proclaimed in that manner, we just have to look at their actions in order to understand it.
The federal government very rarely gives up the power that it has gained; more often than not it tries to amplify its power to become the supreme ruler. Again we must look at the Constitution; it very clearly and plainly gives most powers to the individual states.
The founders knew first-hand, the pains of government oppression and restricted liberties, more than any of us can claim today. We mustn’t deceive ourselves with the idea that they lived in a simple age, without understanding of social progressivism. They absolutely understood it completely and utterly. A simple understanding of the pre-revolutionary period and the revolution itself will clearly illustrate this, but that is for another article.
Following the Constitution is inconvenient at times, it can be a burden and it was always acknowledged that it would be. The founders knew that we as citizens would have to be informed and involved if we were to truly govern ourselves. They knew that the premises would require constant vigilance to uphold. They knew that despite the struggles of maintaining the freedoms outlined in the Constitution, there was no substitute for self-governance, that ultimate freedom can only be sustained by strict adherence to it. No matter how small a violation it may seem, any unconstitutional act is a harbinger of corruption and restriction, even when these acts are for “the common good”. They also knew that the ultimate threat to this doctrine would be from within, that it would be the citizens’ lack of interest and complacency that would destroy it, and destroyed it we have.
Merely uttering the words of the Constitution elicits grumbling responses, yet this is not because of its policies, it is because it has become misunderstood and regarded as inapplicable to this time. A little research and reflection would result in most citizens proclaiming it to be the greatest written work, that it is the only logical and sustainable source of freedom. So how did we get to where we are now? We have allowed our self-governing ways to be hijacked by a small group who believe they know what is best for you and me. They convinced us that their intentions were only for “the common good”, that these violations were only temporary and in the name of “national security”, that America would crumble if the program they were preaching wasn’t implemented. The usurpations of our freedoms and liberties continue with no sign of slowing.
However, it is not too late. Fortunately, the Constitution has been designed in such a manner that it is much easier to begin adhering to it even after disregarding it for so many years, than it would be to try to start from scratch.
What is required now is dedication to the principles of this, the greatest governmental doctrine ever created. It will surely require citizens to stand up and proclaim that this is a nation of Americans, not politicians, and that we will govern ourselves as we see fit. Most people can agree with this proposition as long as they know that their voice really is heard, that their beliefs are important and taken into account.
We must immediately begin taking power from the federal hands and putting it in those of the states. Perhaps the state you or I live in will not make the decision we were hoping for, but isn’t that better than the federal government making that same decision for all Americans? After all, it is relatively easy to move to another state if you disagree with its stance, it is very difficult to move to another country.
We can argue and bicker all we want within our states about abortion, gay marriage, taxes, welfare, etc. Let us not allow the federal government to impose their decision on all states, if we make the wrong decision then it has only been for the citizens of a single state, not all citizens in America.
The debate of Republican vs. Democrat is age-old. I propose that it doesn’t even matter anymore. The debate should be Federalist vs. not. To be honest most Americans are not Federalists, despite the positions of their party. They have simply been left behind by a small group of politicians who think they know what is best for us and desire ultimate control. Let us realize that in order to order to sustain true freedom and liberty we must make do with these petty differences. Once we accept this fact we can move forward and begin to live our own lives again.
We must re-learn to exercise our right to petition the government like our forefathers did. We must realize again that we the people are responsible for making those tough decisions and governing ourselves. We must place pressure on politicians when they forsake us by restricting our liberty. We must take action to end this allowance of government control over our lives.
As Natan Sharansky, the great Soviet dissident once said in regards to the Soviet empire;
“Even the smallest spark of freedom could set their entire totalitarian world ablaze.”
It starts as a small unified voice and quickly becomes a fevered following. In time this gives way to a massive movement that can change lives, governments, and entire nations. Our time has come; we have lived with the oppression and restriction of our liberties far too long. It is time to set our totalitarian world ablaze, so that one day we may flip the coin and see another side of it.Tweet
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