British crown or American bureaucracy? What’s the difference?
by Roger Hines
June 28, 2014 10:37 PM | 1496 views | 4 4 comments | 19 19 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 illustrate 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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WestCobbThinker
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June 30, 2014
Ah yes. Kevin Fooley, the steadfast public relations guru for the Church of Progressive Government must come forth and defend the good work of the many agencies of his lord and master the... FED. And he's right, the FDA, USDA, FAA, EPA, and many other agencies and services were established by congress with the vision and mission to serve and protect... 'We The People'. However, over the course of time, their vision and mission has evolved from serving and protecting 'We The People' to serving and protecting 'We The Agency'. Current example of this is the Veterans Administration which has definitely lost its way and purpose.

In his role of public relations guru for the Church of Progressive Government Fooley continuously points out the failings and shortcomings of other faiths and religions. Maybe it's time for him to ponder the failings and shortcomings of his own faith.
Kevin Foley
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July 01, 2014
WestCobb"Thinker" (whoever you are) - It's not hard to figure out your failings and shortcomings, coming here anonymously, afraid to take responsibility for making childish fun of my name or thoughtfully and politely explaining why my counterweight to Mr. Hines' opinion is wrong.

This is typical of the comments I get from trolls like you. It's far less taxing to mindlessly attack than thoughtfully defend, especially if you lack the requisite intelligence.
WestCobbThinker
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July 01, 2014
Oh Fooley, come now, this isn't about me... this is about YOUR faith in progressive government. Mr. Hines presented his argument against these government agencies which are creating havoc on our lives and our livelihoods and like a good believer you went into the defense mode.

Everyone (even those in government) knows that all of these agencies are suffering from bureaucratic bloat, the civil service quagmire, and political infighting. The culture of these agencies is described as 'Toxic' and 'Corrosive' and as a result they are ineffective in the work they are commissioned to perform. One might say that they are at (or beyond) the point of diminishing returns. In other words, every added law, every added rule, every added regulation and every added civil service bureaucrat makes them even less effective but more burdensome for the citizen. This is the honest and true state of your progressive government.

But now Fooley I come to you and what I see is a man who is blinded by his faith in progressive government. You are as blinded by your faith as the Christians, who you like to ridicule and criticize, are blinded by their faith. In this paper you've pointed out time after time the failures and shortcomings of the Church. Now Mr. Hines points out the failures and shortcomings of the government. Honestly Fooley, your counterweight has no punch.
Kevin Foley
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June 30, 2014
Roger, all of the progressive advancements you cite came about because a duly elected legislature, expressing the will of the majority of the people, passed them. They were not enacted by some royal fiat.

The people recognize our country is not the same country that existed in 1776. Thus, what you call "over reach" and "intrusions" are in fact responses to what you also call "liberty."

Seriously, would you trust a food producer or pharmaceutical company to sell safe products if they weren't inspected or tested? Would you fly in a commercial aircraft the FAA hadn't inspected for airworthiness? Do you really think it's okay for a factory to dump its chemical waste into Lake Acworth because it should have the freedom to do so?

I like to tell my conservative friends America already experimented with their simplistic libertarian vision. The result was widespread poverty, unsafe work places, limited public education, short life spans, poisoned food and drugs, and all the rest.

It didn't work then and it won't work now.

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