Today is an interesting time in the history of our country. We have drifted farther than ever from the principles on which our country was founded. A leading candidate for president, who is gaining more and more momentum in the polls, is an avowed socialist. Something Samuel Adams said was “impractical” and “in our government, unconstitutional.” But hey, let’s be honest, who cares about the constitution anymore? “We the people” clearly don’t. We’ve ignored nearly every check and balance built in to this magnificent, and I might add, inspired document. We’ve given up on principles like limited government, property rights, a free market economy… really we’ve given up on “We the People” and put more of our trust in “You the government”. We’ve given up on the principle of freedom, and I can’t say it’s really the government’s fault. It’s ours. Of course the government wants more power that is the nature of government (which is why we had a written constitution in the first place, but whatever). Our government derives its power from us, “We the People”. We gave it to them.
We don’t want to care for the elderly or save for our own retirement, please government take care of this responsibility for us! Thus, social security is created. There is no possible way we can educate our own children, help us! Thus, public education is created. Please government we can’t take care of our poor brothers and sisters or save money for future needs or unforeseen circumstances. Thus welfare, healthcare, and nearly every other government program was created. We can’t control ourselves, how will we avoid taking substances that could kill us, or choose what foods to eat and drink! Thus endless laws are created by, needless agencies to protect us from…us? Okay, so “We the People” can’t be trusted with these responsibilities, but the government can…… Really? Wake up America, please, before you give away all of my freedoms. When did it become okay to delegate every important responsibility to the most inefficient and corrupt organization in the country? Not only has the government not solved any of these problems, but it has actually exacerbated them. I’m reminded of something former President of the LDS Church Spencer W. Kimball said, warning of government taking our responsibilities.
“The government seems too anxious to give, give, give to the poor, to the aged, to the schools, to everyone, and blinded people feel they are getting something, whereas they pay it to the government so that the government can, after great overhead expense return a part of it to the people. And every time a gift returns to the people—a so-called gift—it comes with fetters binding and tying and enslaving. For every block of funds given to the people, they lose a bigger block of liberty.”
This is socialism at work here in America folks, and yet Bernie Sanders gains popularity in the polls and especially among young people. I don’t get it. I can understand people being fooled by Obama saying he wasn’t a socialist, or by George Bush saying he was a conservative that loved the constitution. They were at least lying. But the thing about Bernie Sanders is, he isn’t trying to fool anyone. He’s a socialist, he knows he’s a socialist, and everyone else knows he’s a socialist. For that, I applaud him, at least he is true to his beliefs, which is more than I can say for most candidates running, on either side. He’s actually sincerely wrong, which is why he scares me more than even the most corrupt candidate running. *Cough* Hilary Clinton *Cough*. Like C.S. Lewis said:
“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.”
Either way it doesn’t matter. We can elect a socialist on the left who will spend us into oblivion with endless “free” stuff and a regulated economy. Or we can elect a fake conservative on the right that will build up endless military and give government handouts to his buddies in the private sector while touting the wonderful “free” market. I can’t decide whether to laugh or to cry. You have those on the left who will argue vehemently for freedom to choose when it comes to social issues like gay marriage or murdering unborn children, but cringe at the thought of a free market and choosing to use your property how you would like to. Then you have those on the right who argue for liberty when it comes to property rights or religious freedoms, but reject that liberty to those who choose to marry a gay person or those who use illegal drugs.
In the end the principle is the same whether you’re on the right or the left. Should we be left free to choose or should we endow the government with the power to choose for us? We as a people will have to choose what we value more; freedom or force. We can believe in an actual free market and trust that mankind still has enough humanity left in him to freely choose the right, or we can choose an authoritarian government to regulate the economy and to make the “right” choices for us. Milton Friedman once said and I would add a couple things.
“A major source objection to a free economy (and I would add a free people) is precisely that it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market (and a free people) is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
As for me, I believe in freedom. I believe in a free market economy that can create widespread abundance for all because of its willing and industrious production. I believe in a free people who enjoy the liberty to do anything that does not harm their neighbor. I believe in the inspired Constitution that limits government to only protect life, liberty, and property. I pray that in the end, “We the People”, will have more faith in freedom and in each other, than we do in force and in the government.
Friedman, M. (2002). Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jr, E. L. (1979). Spencer W. Kimball. Salt Lake City : BookCraft.
Lewis, C. (1971). God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology).