______ And Justice For All

In+the+tradition+of+Henry+David+Thoreau%2C+Op-Ed+Writer+Frank+Connor+questions+the+role+of+government+in+our+lives.++

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In the tradition of Henry David Thoreau, Op-Ed Writer Frank Connor questions the role of government in our lives.

by Frank Connor, Op-Ed Writer

A common theme these days is to divide liberty into two groups: economic liberty and social liberty. Liberals tend to define social liberty as the freedom to use drugs and gay marriage. Republicans tend to support economic liberty, such as the freedom to keep what you have earned, the freedom for an employer to pay an employee what he sees fit, and freedom from destructive regulation. The problem with these points of view is that they split liberty in half and therefore cheapen it by suggesting that man can control a divinely given right in some way. Liberty is not divisible; a politician cannot just pick and choose which freedoms he would like to give us. It also means that other people, even if they are the majority cannot strip these liberties from a minority, even if by way of democracy.
Unless tyranny is their goal, the Government (and indeed the people) must step back out of the affairs of others. Our nations doctrine must be that if a person doesn’t harm others he should be free to do as he pleases. For example, if a man chooses to use potentially harmful drugs he should be allowed to do so — as long as nobody else is harmed by it. This would mean that said drug is legal to him but he cannot proceed to do anything while on the drug that would put another person at danger, such as driving. It also means that a person should be allowed to carry a gun, as long as they don’t hurt anybody or have a past record of doing so.
Another piece of the “Freedom Doctrine” (as I think it should be called) would be that we must allow people to succeed and fail. Today, the government is in the business of punishing success by way of crippling taxes, business destroying regulations, and subsidizing failure by way of welfare. In a free society, people must be free and encouraged to succeed. Taxes should be low and profits should be high, this would provide an incentive for people to succeed. Regulations should be few, so that companies are not scared to do business for fear of a powerful federal agency. On the other hand, people should be free to fail. Their should not be money waiting for those who do not succeed, for this creates a feeling that failure is acceptable and deserves reward. If such failure was subsidized in the late 1800’s, we may not have the light bulb. Thomas Edison would not have been nearly as driven and may not have persevered after his numerous failures.
Liberty is the most fragile element a nation possesses: governments by nature encroach upon it every chance they get. The people assume a mob mentality and strip freedoms from others, depending on current political fashion. The disease of tyranny hovers ominously above free society with its good intentions and “caring politicians” who wait for the politically unconscious to walk into the polling place and vote for the usurpation of liberty by way of unconscious democracy.
The corrupt governments make us forget the sacrifices of generations before us and lead us over the edge of the abyss into a darkness in which we forget that Liberty is the most sacred right we, and indeed the world, could ever possess.