Socialized Healthcare and ‘Tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims’

Boy is this audio appropriate today:
Part 1:

Part 2:

Whatever you thought of Reagan, there was one thing true about him – he understood the fundamental epic failing of socialist philosophy applied to government. Socialism comes in the form of friendly ideas with the best intentions. It ends in Tyranny.

C. S. Lewis put it this way:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Contrast all of the above with President Obama the other day:

audio ht: Levin

UPDATED: Height of Irony: Obama to Require Youth Involuntary Servitude – ‘REQUIREMENT’ REMOVED

If you’ve already read this – skip down for Major Updates:

serve

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.”

Are freedom and liberty things people even desire anymore? Or are these just quaint notions great men used to talk about in a bygone era?

How ironic that I would have to remind President-Elect Obama of the 13th Amendment:

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

In a free American society, the State does not have the power to compel service, only encourage it. Only Tyrannies hand the power of people’s lives to the state. While community service doesn’t seem to have parity with slavery, what is the real difference? Do we not trade individual masters for government? Who decides what service is, or for what institute it must be done? If I choose to serve my church, or through a Boy Scout troop – is that included? What about military service? Who will decide the penalty for non-compliance?

Naturally, The State will choose. 

And what will you do when The State requires you to do something you oppose? A government with the power to impose good – has an equal power to impose evil.

Time to once again quote the great late C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

(emph. mine)

I guess so long as the slaves are “doing something good” it doesn’t count as slavery.

More on Soft-Tyranny…if anyone even bothers to care anymore.

Updated: Requirement Romoved from change.gov. 

You can take a look for yourself here:

http://change.gov/americaserves/

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.”

Now this is a much more thought out and reasonable proposal, and as far as change goes – a very wise one. Obviously, how exactly all this will pan out, as well as the ins-and-outs of the idea, still have much room for debate – but this is definitely an improvement over the earlier statement.

This may not have been totally clear above, but it’s not community service that I am opposed to. Clearly, part of growing up and maturing is becoming aware of the needs of those around us. As an Eagle Scout – I spent a great deal of my childhood preforming community service – and this experience helped me to grow in even greater ways than much of what I learned in traditional school. I was taught the value in helping others and volunteering through direct experience. I believe this is a vital thing for people to learn, and greatly benefits a community in the long run.

With that said – I also don’t think that instilling the value of service on citizens is a responsibility that hangs on government mandate. The real value here is learning to serve out of your own choice – rather than compulsion.

As a side note – it bears mentioning that we currently have the luxury of being governed by a (at least somewhat) moral government. What I was writing about in the initial post may have sounded like a knee-jerk reaction – but allowing a government the power to choose how you serve comes with high risk implications in the long run. What would happen if the government decided you needed to serve in a fashion that you opposed? For instance – consider military service: I happen to see value in military service as well as community service – but I hardly think people should be forced to serve militarily. The point I was making above is that a State with the power to force it’s citizens to serve is, in a way, a return to serfdom – (albeit – a benign sudo-friendly form of serfdom. But that’s today – what about 5, 10, 15 years from now?) something America was founded to oppose. 

Back to my main point:  The greater value here for a free people, is to learn and understand the value of service – and so choose to serve – as opposed to serving under pressure. In short, compulsory service (by government) makes slaves, while service by personal volition makes responsible and mature citizens.

In a free society, Government can, and should encourage certain positive behaviors, and rightly enforce punishment (to protecting rights and freedoms) on wrong behaviors. What the government cannot do is force people to do good. Not only does this hinder society in the long run (slaves resent their masters), it also runs contrary to human nature (people will not be ruled) and potentially jeopardizes individual freedom.

I’m very happy that President-Elect Obama has wisely re-considered his policy here and made adequate changes to his proposal. Hopefully, congress can work together to come up with a reasonable application of this idea, sans-coercion.

It’s official: Obama Embraces Socialism, Misrepresents The American Dream, Can’t Distinguish Between Charity and Government Mandate

That’s it – I’ve tried to be nice about this – but this is just flat-out absurd:

On the stump this week, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has pushed back against Sen. John McCain’s description of his tax policies.

“The reason that we want to do this, change our tax code, is not because I have anything against the rich,” Obama said in Sarasota, Florida, yesterday. “I love rich people! I want all of you to be rich. Go for it. That’s the America dream, that’s the American way, that’s terrific.”

Whoops … WRONG! The American Dream is to live in peace and liberty, free to pursue our own dreams (Free from government thugs melding and interference, beyond upholding rule of law and basic protections). It has nothing, again – absolutely nothing to do with material wealth whatsoever. Since when did the Persuit of Happiness = cars, houses, and all that crap. And this phony-bologna Orwellian concept of “economic justice”…is simply victimization, coupled with jealousy – with a more acceptable name. (Also called – Marxism.)

“The point is, though, that — and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class — it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month – then guess what? Everybody starts spending that money, they decide maybe I can afford a new car, maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling and everybody is better off. All boats rise.

Wow – that sounds really nice and utopian… Like I said – Marxism. It’s the simple question Joe Biden couldn’t answer:

“From each according to his abilities - to each according to his need” -Karl Marx

By what right do you decide when someone else has too much, Senator? How exactly does that promote Liberty?

Barrack continues:

“That’s what happened in the 1990s, that’s what we need to restore. And that’s what I’m gonna do as president of the United States of America.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

[Source]

What a load of Horsesh*t! It’s not selfish to feel entitled to the wages you earn. It’s selfish to covet what other people have, and set up tyrannical governments with the power to steal from them for yourself. Neither is it “selfish” to believe that I may be a better judge of who I give charity to, than the State. Virtue is earning an honest wage for hard work. Virtue is giving out of compassion – not compulsion! And this isn’t some isolated speech. Here’s Obama in 2001 on what he dresses up in fluffy bunny terms as “redistributive change”:

Seriously – those of you out there waiting for the government handout – how much is your Liberty worth? $3,000-$5,000? You want to grant the State the authority to decree how much is wealthy – and then take it from those that have it by force…? I hope you enjoy your new overlords. 

For crying out load – this is exactly how tyranny triumphs…slowly, masked as nice sounding ideas. You victimize a major group of society, a the same time demonizing another group (This is exactly what the Obama camp has done the entire election, and I am sick and tired of beating around the bush. Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Anything, blah blah blah – they are all evil – you should hate their wealth – they stole it from you…), then promise the “victims” riches, in exchange for power. For goodness sake, take a look at history.

And If Obama doesn’t understand the difference between “sharing toys” or “peanut butter sandwiches” by your own free will, and government mandated “sharing” – then, I’m sorry but he just isn’t all that bright.  

Steyn Expands:

In a free society, the citizen chooses whether to share his Lego, trade it for some Thomas the Tank Engine train tracks, or keep it to himself. From that freedom of action grow mighty Playmobile cities. Communism is compulsion. It’s the government confiscating your Elmo to “share” it with someone of its choice. Joe the Plumber is free to spread his own wealth around — hiring employees, buying supplies from local businesses, enjoying surf’n’turf night at his favorite eatery. But, in Obama’s world view, that’s not good enough: the state is the best judge of how to spread Joe the Plumber’s wealth around.

Governments. do. not. give. up. power. That was the point of the American Revolution and Constitution – to limit the powers of government and throw off the chains of tyranny. 

And look, I’m sure Obama is a swell guy – and electing him obviously isn’t going to instantly transform America into a tyrannical socialist slave nation. But make an effort to understand his underlying philosophy on economics, private property, the role of supreme court justices, etc before you vote for his kind of “change”. His views are far left of center and anything but “moderate.”

Mark Steyn on the Europeanization of America, Soft Tyranny, Free Speech, Union Votes, Taxes, Barack Obama, Plumbers, etc…

Here’s some great audio (in two segments) from an interview between Mark Steyn and Mark Levin. They cover a huge range of topics, as the post title suggests. Funny, and informative – Give it a listen:

So happy to have Mark Steyn back on the scene.

Under Obama – I’m a filthy evil Phatty McRicherson

The best part about this ad is that the left doesn’t even deny it’s true. Here is a little segment from the HuffPo. Note the lack of denial cloaked behind, ‘well…technically speaking…’ bullcrap:

“The claim that Obama voted to raise taxes on people making more than $42,000 comes with a caveat. The Budget Resolution that Obama voted for and McCain now highlights was a provision to allow portions of the 2001 And 2003 Tax Cuts to expire. Taxes would have gone up. But it was not a vote to raise taxes.”

The simple question is – will Obama raise taxes? The answer is yes. And don’t try the ‘only on the rich’ because that is total subjective class based crap. Who gets to decide that, and how is that fair? 

“Oh – we’re sorry. We’ve decided that you’ve become too successful. We are now going to steal force you to pay more than other less successful people on the assumption that the only reason you are wealthy is because you somehow exploited people to get there. But don’t get upset, we are doing it for the good of ________________(insert glittering generality: i.e. ‘the children,’ ‘the elderly,’ ‘to save the planet’)”

-you’re friendly governmental tyranny

I know that the ‘Robin Hood’ approach sounds all justified and appeals to some people – but realize that it wasn’t simply ‘the rich’ whom Robin Hood was stealing from to give back to the poor. It was the corrupt government who was taxing the crap out of it’s people, and Robin Hood fought against that tyranny, or so the story goes.

Don’t be fooled. Taxing ‘the rich’ for the benefit of the poor, is bold faced, class based Marxism.

My wife and I worked our freaking rears off to get to where we are today (with some loving help from our parents who also worked their own rears off…). We went to college so that we could get decent paying jobs, and are now paying off our own educations. The idea that the state should have the right to force us to pay more for other people who have not chosen to work as hard, in my opinion, is totally unethical.

What say you? Would you like your taxes raised when you reach a certain level of prosperity defined by politicians?

The Spoiled Children of Capitalism

Jonah Goldberg wrote a great piece this last week about Capitalism and why people tend to dislike it – though most of their entire livelihood is a direct result of living in a capitalist system. I think it it a very important opinion to add into the ring. Read it here, or below (emphasis mine):

It’s an old story. Loving parents provide a generous environment for their offspring. Kids are given not only ample food, clothing and shelter, but the emotional necessities as well: encouragement, discipline, self-reliance, the ability to work with others and on their own. And yet, in due course, the kids rebel. Some even say their parents never loved them, that they were unfair, indifferent, cruel. Often, such protests are sparked by parents’ refusal to be even more generous. I want a car, demands the child. Work for it, insist the parents. Why do you hate me? asks the ingrate. 

Of course, being an old story doesn’t make it a universal one. But the dynamic is universally understood.

We’ve all witnessed the tendency to take a boon for granted. Being accustomed to a provision naturally leads the human heart to consider that provision an entitlement. Hence the not-infrequent lawsuits from prison inmates cruelly denied their rights to cable TV or apple brown betty for desert. 

And so it goes, I think, with capitalism generally.

Capitalism is the greatest system ever created for alleviating general human misery, and yet it breeds ingratitude.

People ask, “Why is there poverty in the world?” It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil. As individuals and as a species, we are born naked and penniless, bereft of skills or possessions. Likewise, in his civilizational infancy man was poor, in every sense. He lived in ignorance, filth, hunger, and pain, and he died very young, either by violence or disease. 

The interesting question isn’t “Why is there poverty?” It’s “Why is there wealth?” Or: “Why is there prosperity here but not there?”

At the end of the day, the first answer is capitalism, rightly understood. That is to say: free markets, private property, the spirit of entrepreneurialism and the conviction that the fruits of your labors are your own. 

For generations, many thought prosperity was material stuff: factories and forests, gold mines and gross tons of concrete poured. But we now know that these things are merely the fringe benefits of wealth. Stalin built his factories, Mao paved over the peasants. But all that truly prospered was misery and alienation.

A recent World Bank study found that a nation’s wealth resides in its “intangible capital” — its laws, institutions, skills, smarts and cultural assumptions. “Natural capital” (minerals, croplands, etc.) and “produced capital” (factories, roads, and so on) account for less than a quarter of the planet’s wealth. In America, intangible capital — the stuff in our heads, our hearts, and our books — accounts for 82 percent of our wealth. 

Any number of countries in Africa are vastly richer in baubles and soil than Switzerland. But they are poor because they are impoverished in what they value. 

In large measure our wealth isn’t the product of capitalism, it is capitalism. 

And yet we hate it. Leaving religion out of it, no idea has given more to humanity. The average working-class person today is richer, in real terms, than the average prince or potentate of 300 years ago. His food is better, his life longer, his health better, his menu of entertainments vastly more diverse, histoilette infinitely more civilized. And yet we constantly hear how cruel capitalism is while this collectivism or that is more loving because, unlike capitalism, collectivism is about the group, not the individual. 

These complaints grow loudest at times like this: when the loom of capitalism momentarily stutters in spinning its gold. Suddenly, the people ask: What have you done for me lately? Politicians croon about how we need to give in to Causes Larger than Ourselves and peck about like hungry chickens for a New Way to replace dying capitalism. 

This is the patient leaping to embrace the disease and reject the cure. Recessions are fewer and weaker thanks in part to trade, yet whenever recessions appear on the horizon, politicians dive into their protectionist bunkers. Not surprising that this week we saw the demise of the Doha round of trade negotiations, and this campaign season we’ve heard the thunder of anti-trade rhetoric move ever closer.

This is the irony of capitalism. It is not zero-sum, but it feels like it is. Capitalism coordinates humanity toward peaceful, productive cooperation, but it feels alienating. Collectivism does the opposite, at least when dreamed up on paper. The communes and collectives imploded in inefficiency, drowned in blood. The kibbutz lives on only as a tourist attraction, a baseball fantasy camp for nostalgic socialists. Meanwhile, billions have ridden capitalism out of poverty. 

And yet the children of capitalism still whine.

Here are a couple more closing thoughts.

Obama’s Speech in Berlin: Full Text

You can read his entire speech here.

In my opinion, it’s mostly generalities. Be sure to read it though and post a comment if you think something really stands out. Here are a few sections that stand out to me (my comments are in grey):

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

[...]

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya. (From what I hear, this is not only an extreme exaggeration – but likely, not true at all. It’s certainly not the case in the Antarctic. I mean – that’s a huge assumption that cars and factories are directly the cause of world droughts. Call me crazy, but I’d like to see the actual science linking the two.)

[...]

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. (Clarification: “To people of the left in Europe…the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common.” This is a media driven myth in my opinion. If what Obama said was true, how was Nicolas Sarkozy, a huge supporter of America, elected in France of all places? The media in America refuses to show people around the world that do support America – mainly because, why would they bother? First, it’s not exactly newsworthy, and Second: it doesn’t support the news media’s narrative that George W. Bush has been the most heinously evil president in the history of the universe.)

[...]

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one. (Here again with the catastrophic carbon = death predictions. The other day, our local news failed to predict the weather accurately for a mere 6 hours, and yet you have people making predictions about the climate systems of the entire Earth for the next 100 years… This whole thing just seems like a bit of hysteria to me. Mark Steyn said it best,

 

“…he can make the oceans subside, but will he be able to improve border security? I doubt it.”)

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please. (Now this is a decent section over all. He is extolling the concept of E Pluribus Unam - which is a great thing about America, as well as our sacrifice, and freedoms of speech and religion. The only odd bit is, ‘free from fear and free from want.’ Personally, I think it’s simply freedom, period.)

Anyway, I guess I just want a guy who is going to talk about Liberty. That’s what gets me stoked, and what I think makes American great. Here are a couple really good speeches in Berlin by men, who I feel, really earned the right to speak there:
Feel free to leave your own assessments.

Samuel Adams: keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.

A collection of quotes:

A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy…. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader…. If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.

The said constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions.

If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.

–Samuel Adams

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

C.S. Lewis on -soft- Tyranny

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

This is essentially why I am against increasing the power to the State. A lot of things come packaged nicely (welfare, healthcare, environmentalism, ‘No Child Left Behind,’ etc) and they end up being communicated as moral imperatives. There is a very real danger when governments believe that they decide what’s in the best interest of their citizens, as opposed to the people themselves. (Peter DeFazio talked about this very thing in his reply to my letter about the Fairness Doctrine).

As someone who is philosophically conservative, I believe that for freedom to flourish, is vital for each person to have the power to make decisions about what is best for themselves.

I think this is often why Conservatives are perceived to have a lack of compassion in regard to social programs. For instance, I was listening to a left wing radio show the other day and the host, who was discussing global warming, stated something in the effect of, “You see, Conservatives are always opposed to people coming together to fix a problem (in this case, the problem was global warming).”  Close, but the host left out one crucial point:

Conservatives are opposed to governments forcing people to come together to fix a problem. This is because, governments are the only entities that have the power to force citizens to do anything (in America, usually through taxation and regulation). Non-governmental organizations do not, instead relying on a person’s free choice to support that organization. 

The ultimate problem is that any time we hand over power and responsibilities to The State, it is nearly impossible to get them back. Not to mention, citizens become less self-reliant, instead counting on the government to make important decisions, or provide for important personal needs.

Back to what Lewis was saying. Whether we elect John McCain or Barack Obama this year, the country is not going to immediately spiral into tyranny. However, some of the ideas that BOTH McCain and Obama are pushing are small steps in this direction. Do not be fooled into feeling guilty when it comes to social issues by the nice (morally imperative) way that they are packaged: “It’s for the children, the elderly, the environment, fill in the blank… (One real world example: Al Gore has stated that the climate problem is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. Thus, people who disagree, or might question his position aren’t just wrong, they’re immoral. I wrote a whole post about this topic called The Cost of Disagreement.)

The bottom line is whatever the issue, (oil prices, healthcare, environment, jobs, taxes, etc), don’t buy the, “you are morally obligated,” emotional fluff. The important question should be:

Does this idea promote personal liberty – or is it handing more power to The State?

In other words, is it a small step towards, or away from tyranny?

Now, there is a great deal of talk about what should be done about certain problems in society. Those thoughts can be reserved for another time or post. For now though, my opinion is that for most things, the government isn’t the answer.

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