Like many Americans, I have been thinking a lot about politics lately. I am not really sure whether I love to hate politics or I hate to love politics. One thing is certain; it is getting pretty ugly these days. A lot of people think that is something new, but really it isn’t. There was a time when rival politicians would sometimes duel to the death. And then of course there was Tennessee Congressman David Crockett (he actually hated the nickname Davie) who famously in a fit of anger told his own constituents “you may all go to hell; I am going to Texas.” No. politics has always been an ugly thing, but that is because it is so important and people get passionate about it. It is important because if we do not all pay attention it is easy to be deceived. Remember, Adolph Hitler and Hugo Chavez were not revolutionaries who led a civil war for power. These guys were elected. People voted for them because they liked the things that they said.
The important thing to understand is that government is not a good thing. Philosopher Max Weber described government as a Monopoly of Violence. Before you start freaking out that Danny is an anarchist let me finish explaining. Government is necessary, a necessary evil if you will. Without government there would be violence all over the place. If you had a possession, or perhaps food, and your neighbor wanted it and was more powerful than you, he would simply take it. In fact, anarchy as a permanent state is not even possible. There are evil people who crave power and these evil people, if they can amass the weapons and pawns necessary, will rise up and declare themselves kings. So, without a government, there will be violence and the strongest will keep rising until they monopolize the violence. The subjects obey the ruler out of fear of violence and in turn the ruler prohibits violence by others in order to win enough support of the subject to stay in power. So government, by definition is a monopoly on violence and a necessary evil. This is something that many people in our modern world do not understand, but something that our founders understood well.
In the modern world we always hear politicians talking about and promising “good” government. The important thing to remember is that those words are just what they think we want to hear. Power and greed is primarily what motivates them. It always has been and it always will be. Believe me that any person who really has the ability to do the job of President of the United States also has the skills to be the CEO of a corporation, a job that pays many times what the job of President pays. Who would want such a job? I contend that such a person has to be a little evil. You see, normal good people do not desire power over other people. Yet here is a job that attracts not those who desire money like most people, but those who desire power over others. I always hear Republicans talking about how scary the Democrat is and Democrats talking about how scary the Republican is when actually we should all be nervous about both of them just because they want the job.
This is where our founders were so brilliant. They created a government that is limited in scope and power. They drafted and ratified a document which restrains that government to those powers specifically enumerated to it is. They attempted to bind and restrain that government in a way that would protect the American people against the most dangerous thing in the country, the government itself. Sadly, over the years that leviathan has grown and grown. The people whom we have elected to manage that government have pushed and strained and all too often outright ignored the limits placed upon them by the founders. They expand this power by convincing the very people who have entrusted that precious Constitution to them that they are doing whatever they are doing for our own good.
There was a video playing a few days ago at the DNC that said “Government is the only thing that we all belong to.” This is absolutely backward. It is the government that belongs to the people and not the other way around. Both the Party and the Obama campaign have disavowed any involvement in the making of the video. However, the party has not disavowed the ideas of collectivism and ever expanding government. Almost every speech has echoed this theme. Sandra Fluke claimed that if the government does not force another individual to pay for something she wants she is somehow being denied her right to it. President Clinton said that his party believes in a “we are all in this together” philosophy whereas as Conservatives believe that you are on your own. As benign as this sound, and even attractive to some, this is NOT the role of government. A bunch of guys in a prison are “all in it together.” When you are outside those bars you are sort of on your own. You are not marched to the cafeteria at lunch time, but instead have to find a way to feed yourself. Of course, people pull together through tragedy and trials. They do this through their local communities and churches and civic groups. But government sponsored collectivism is the elimination of individualism, individual rights, and freedom. I would much rather stay outside those bars.
Over the next 60 days you are going to hear speeches and debates. Both guys are going to tell you how horrible the other guy is. In the end, one of them is going to get elected. Sadly, he is probably going to continue expanding the size and scope of government. Romney has promised smaller more limited government. History tells us that he and his party will probably manage a slower rate of growth than Obama and his party. I hope that I am wrong and that he keeps his promise. What you need to keep in mind is that it may all sound like sunshine and dreams when they promise you all these things, but anything the government is doing for you, any decision the government is making for you, is another freedom you have lost and another step closer to tyranny. Government cannot give you anything for free. It can only force you to buy it by taxing you first (or borrowing the money from China and taxing your children). Isn’t it better to make your own choices what to do with the fruits of your labor? Of course, the left will tell you that you aren’t going to pay for it. They will just get the money from the “rich.” Well, once they have taken everything from them, they are coming for you next. You can count on that. There simply are not enough of those super rich out there to pay for everything they are promising. Not to mention that this will result in fewer of them. After all, what is the point of doing all of the hard work required to succeed if it is only going to be taken away?
If you love government and think that it is just the best thing since sliced bread you are probably going to vote for Obama as he has promised and he is giving you even more of it. But if you are one of those on the far left I have a question for you. Do you agree with all of those delegates at the DNC who were saying that we should ban corporate profits? If so I will not take the time to explain how stupid this is, how no profit means no more corporation and no more jobs. What I would like to ask though is this. Why is a corporation, run by people so horribly evil while a government (also run by people) is so, so good? That company that you hate so much will not get your business or your money unless you chose to do business with them. The government on the other hand is going to take your money whether you choose to use their services or not. And if ordinary human beings suddenly become evil when they enter the business world, I need you to explain why they are trustworthy when you give them all the power of government.
Daniel Phillips :Graduate of University of Houston Law Center.
Licensed to practice law in Texas and North Dakota.
Employed by the Department of Homeland Security.
Veteran of Afghainstan and Iraq.
Retired Texas Army National Guard.
Live in Houston