Less Government—Lower Taxes?
The basis for Jefferson’s use of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the 1st Amendment was a direct quote of well respected 1600’s philosopher John Locke. His philosophies is too deep for me, but understand his view that individuals can be (largely) trusted to manage their own affairs in ways that are (more or less) consistent with their interests and well-being. The problem with most philosophers and writings, like the Constitution, is interpretation. In these quotes the word liberty has different meanings to different people.
In this context libertarians are against any laws that stifle liberty denied as long as it doesn’t harm others. They believe that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, as long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others and live in whatever manner they choose.
They object to the following laws:
Paternal- such as seat belt and helmet laws
Moral laws including same sex marriage or abortion
Any forms of redistribution of wealth except for protection
Parental and moral laws don’t infringe on the rights of others. Taxing the wealthy to benefit others is unjustified and a form of redistribution of wealth. Costs of protective services are to be shared equally. Their thesis has pros and cons. These are not my opinions, but examples of two group’s definition of liberty.
Less government and lower taxes was the aspirations of the voters in the last election. This was the mantra of the Tea Party and Libertarian Party which are similar in their goals. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. (Mencken)
Although I admired them for their intentions of improving our country, they may have been more convincing if their demands had been presented with more details. Proposed changes must also contain the possible consequences of their assumptions. This has been the failings of much legislation.
We have witnessed the effects of less government throughout history. The use of slaves, nearly annihilating American Indians while stealing their land, inhumane treatment of the working class after the Revolution, child labor, plus other liberties of society not protected by government.
More details and probable consequences must be considered if we consider ourselves a just society. The problem we have with many interpretations of the 1st amendment is that all people aren’t created equal or altruistic so greed and corruption saturate our financial system.
There are already famous greed crashes. We have the original stock market crash in 1929 and the infamous black Monday in 1987. More recently there is the NASDAQ crash in 2000 and scandals like Enron in 2001. Today, we have the crash of the real estate markets and the ripple effects going out to multiple financial institutions like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, and AIG. Today there are many signs of huge financial instability. What got us to this point is at the core greed and the subsequent consequences. We must have some controls for society’s protection.
A statesman is a person who exhibits great wisdom and ability in directing the affairs of government or in dealing with important public issues. We who must endure the decision presently being dealt with by our elected officials must now decide if they meet the criteria of the above definition of statesmen. We won’t know until we know who will gain or lose after tax reduction and spending cuts are made.
We only have a few statesmen in government today who are drowned out and seldom heard as the media finds more interest in the Bachmann and Palin types.
There was some hope when Obama was elected as he was intelligent with some statesman characteristics, but he has been whittled down to the level of our dueling congress and lack of congressional statesmen.