Thomas Jefferson famously said “those are governed best who are governed least”. Given the tragic mess that today passes for a government in this nation, Mr. Jefferson’s words ring more true than ever – yet the actions of government continue to move in the opposite direction.
I propose to state the same notion in a different way, hoping that this alternate view might get through to more people. I propose to say “they are governed best who have the most NEGATIVE form of government”. I admit that at first blush, this seems a foolish statement. After all, we are taught from childhood to associate “negative” with bad or undesirable – and that a “positive” approach is invariably better. While this is may well be true in many aspects of individual behavior, it seems to me not so with government.
Let me attempt to explain, using an example from the present: Everyone knows that the poor state of our economy and the corresponding lack of employment opportunities is one of our most severe national problems. For over 2 years now, our government has taken a “positive” approach to dealing with the problem via stimuli, bailouts, new and expanded entitlements and every other form of throwing money about that can be imagined… this along with numerous new or strengthened regulations. And, as is nearly always the case, it has not worked.
Instead, what if our government took a “negative” approach to addressing the problem? Negative in NOT doing (or allowing others to do) any of those things that discourage the economy from healing and expanding itself? I suggest this would lead to a rather rapid recovery, again as is nearly always the case.
Myriad other examples easily come to mind, such as:
1. Helping improve the nation’s health by NOT subsidizing tobacco and sugar.
2. Helping deal with our energy problems by NOT discouraging the building of nuclear power plans.
3. Helping lower the mortality rate among our feathered friends, especially migratory waterfowl, by NOT subsidizing wind turbines.
4. Helping lower food prices by NOT subsidizing ethanol and by NOT allowing the EPA and the FDA to operate out of control.
5. Helping lower our dependency on foreign oil by NOT discouraging drilling in our own country and in its coastal areas.
6. Helping expand our nation’s industrial capability by NOT over-regulating and NOT over-taxing.
7. Helping improve the vital education of our young by NOT interfering with local control and by NOT catering to teachers unions.
8. Helping expand our essential national dialog by NOT interfering with the Internet.
9. … through infinity…
Please amuse yourselves by adding to this list as I have only scratched the surface.
I further suggest that while our Constitution, in its original and proper form, did establish a federal government and did specify a few very specific powers that the states were willing to delegate to that government, it is primarily a set of “negative” laws, meant to contain very the government it created by stating, very clearly, what that government is NOT to do.
It was not until the progressive thinkers conned the people into allowing their government to venture into “positive” actions in areas where it had no constitutional authority that our own government became a serious threat to our freedom.
For my part, I would like one additional amendment to our Constitution that simply states “the government of the United States of America shall not extend any benefit to, or impose any burden on, any citizen, directly or indirectly, that it does not EQUALLY extend to or impose on ALL citizens, including members of government”.
I honestly believe that this simple amendment would stop virtually all government meddling, intrusion into and over regulation of our lives and our enterprises. As it now stands, the relationship between our government and its citizens is completely upside down.
What we have now is a situation where the government considers itself free to impose and interfere in any and all aspects of our lives and our enterprises while the opposite should be true (and was intended by the Constitution): The government SHOULD be totally constricted in its actions by the laws set forth in the Constitution while the individual citizen, and his/her enterprises, should be free of government interference so long as they are not denying others the exercise of their own natural rights.
In other words, government has morphed from being the servant of the people to being their master. If this situation is not righted, and quickly, our inevitable future is one of tyranny and servitude.
Troy L Robinson