Thursday, July 7, 2011

These Things I Deny

These Things I Deny
We hold these falsehoods to be evident through history.
by John Hayward

“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.”

So says the Declaration of Independence, among the greatest documents ever produced by the human race. It is time to declare our independence again, this time by listing the falsehoods made evident through the past century of our history.

I do not believe the government can accomplish any given task more efficiently than the private sector. The awful record of our bankrupt State argues conclusively to the contrary.

I deny both the right and wisdom of government to “own” any industry. Industry cannot succeed without the threat of failure, and the State never has to worry about going out of business. Ownership is the prerogative of citizens, not the government they authorize to perform certain essential duties.

I reject the notion that a just government can exist in the absence of a strictly obeyed Constitution. It is not an archaic document to be evaded when it interferes with the agenda of public officials. A republic must be bound by laws that its elected representatives cannot easily change.

I deny the wisdom of the political class to achieve prosperity through economic control. Their failure is massive and evident. I challenge them to relinquish their control, and watch the creativity and judgment of free citizens surpass their own.

I do not believe the wealth of a free citizen belongs to the government, to re-distribute in accordance with the moral judgment of the elite.

I do not believe that only government officials should be allowed to enjoy lavish benefits and extravagant lifestyles without facing moral condemnation for their greed.

I deny the possibility of a large government without endemic corruption. It’s not just a question of electing honest people to run the super-State. Big Government is inherently corrupt, because it replaces the freedom of choice with the power of political command, and there will always be efforts to purchase the incredibly valuable favor of powerful politicians. If you would have honest government, you must make it smaller.

I deny the possibility of “creating” jobs. Jobs are offered. If you would have more of them, your fellow citizens must be willing to extend more offers. Free people cannot be compelled to make offers.

I do not believe the election of national representatives should be a quest for brilliant masters of industry. They should understand the limits and duties of their own jobs, not how to perform the jobs of those they rule. If a President understands and reveres the Constitution, it doesn’t really matter if he knows anything about the manufacture of automobiles or corporate jets. Electing politicians is not the equivalent of selecting the CEO of America, Incorporated, and Congress is not its boardroom.

I reject the application of compulsive force against citizens who have not engaged in criminal offenses. I am not interested in being “transformed” or “engineered” by my government, and I deny its moral authority to do so against my will.

I reject the idea that the intention behind legislation is more important than its legality under the Constitution, or its actual effects.

I do not believe that the business of funding the government should be turned into an exercise in social engineering, with citizens obliged to run through a vast maze of tax penalties and exemptions, designed to encourage “correct” behavior.

I don’t think the government should be allowed to function without a budget. Ever. This is a mockery of the vital concept of delegated authority. I will not grant the State the right to do as it pleases, and send taxpayers the bill later. How can we judge the performance of government, and vote accordingly, if we are not told precisely what it plans to do?

Except in cases of the most dire emergency, I don’t accept the moral authority of today’s politicians to place unbearable obligations on the taxpayers of the future. Taxation without representation is wrong. Who represents the children of tomorrow? Were their voices heard, when they were assigned to pay off fourteen trillion dollars in debt? It’s one thing to engage in emergency deficit spending when wars or natural disasters threaten the very survival of the Republic. Using the same techniques to encourage dependency on government, or fund the weird obsessions of bureaucrats, is an outrage.

I deny that the continuing dissolution of liberty is “progress,” while the restoration of liberty is “regressive.” The growth of the State is not inevitable.

I do not believe the proper business of government is reducing “uncertainty” in the free market. Opportunity only flourishes upon uncertain terrain. The government’s job should be to reduce the artificial uncertainty generated by its own actions. Free people should not have to worry about being crushed by the State, or watch their commercial triumphs washed away by huge subsidies to their defeated competitors.

I reject the moral authority of politicians to measure the virtue of ambition. As long as those ambitions are legal, politicians have no right to denounce them as evil.

I will not tolerate the continued presence in office of a politician who would compromise the core duties of government to protect funding for its extravagances. If government spending is limited, any official who would jeopardize the essential functions of government, or its financial obligations – as Barack Obama has openly threatened to do – is criminally derelict in his duties, and should be removed from office immediately. I will not allow a government official to threaten me with the refusal to discharge his lawful duty.

I don’t believe it is wise to place control of your life in the hands of politicians, many of whom you will never be able to vote against, or massive agencies you can only influence through savage political battles, fought once every couple of years. State control is all about transitory promises and eternal obligations.

I deny that liberty can be realized entirely through speech and action. It cannot exist without ownership.

I deny that freedom can exist without responsibility. No one is free unless everyone is. That means you cannot make demands upon your neighbors that you are not willing to reciprocate. It means the burden of financing our government should be shared by everyone, not lumped upon small populations that can be easily out-voted. It means that people are accountable for their actions. It is the reason a free people should embrace charity, but deny entitlement.

The Declaration of Independence announced the glory of American liberty by advancing three self-evident truths. The never-ending struggle to retain that liberty involves combining those truths to produce an endless series of denials. The allure of government control and dependency is great, so every free man and woman should be prepared to spend a lifetime saying “no.” Freedom depends upon the right to say “no.”

To read another article by John Hayward, click here.

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