Over Dependency Limits Ones' Span of Freedom
January 15, 2006
For over two centuries, the United States has been a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. That hope is based on what was once an untested idea: citizens can successfully govern themselves through representative democracy. Democracy, as seen by our Founding Fathers' was a unique experiment. They believed that not only individuals can be responsible for governing themselves through representation ... but also that individuals have a responsibility to provide for their own needs.
As viewed by our Founding Fathers, government has certain responsibilities. Among these are to provide for a common defense and an environment that enables individuals to achieve their highest potential. And, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the property rights of individuals, and to provide a stable currency with which one is able to conduct business.
In recent decades, there have been shades where government has failed to meet its obligation to provide a solid economic environment in which individuals can achieve independence and assume responsibility. High tax rates, the seemingly unconstrained growth in government, interference with the markets, and a withering away of property rights as per the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Kelso v. City of New London. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in her dissent: "Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner." Again: increasing tax rates, run away spending by government, increasing entitlements, interference with markets, and the issue of eminent domain ... all these contribute toward individual restrictions and places barriers in the way of individual independence and freedom.
US Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina had it just about right when he said, "America is at an eleventh hour crisis." As DeMint points out, American democracy has reached a point where a majority is "dependent on the federal government for their health care, education, income and retirement. Today, the majority of Americans, through the election process, can vote themselves more generous government benefits at little or no cost to themselves. This should be a matter of considerable concern. Senator DeMint asked: "How can any free nation survive when a majority of its own citizens no longer have so little incentive to restrain the growth of government and government intervention?"
As we see it, over dependency produces "helplessness," and that echoes Tocqueville's warning about government keeping people "fixed irrevocably in childhood," thus rendering "the employment of free will less useful and more rare." It is, as Tocqueville said, " difficult to conceive how men who have entirely renounced the desire or habit of directing themselves could succeed at choosing well those who will lead them."
In the context of a welfare state devoted to assuaging the insecurities and augmenting the competencies of its citizens, it appears clear by contrast, that it is our challenge to use government to promote individualism. Governmental policies that promote dependency seriously undermine individual values and personal entrepreneurial incentives. The more needs government attempts to fulfill for individuals, the higher the costs to individuals. Since individuals are the ones who pay for government programs, the government itself has no money, people are inevitably left with fewer resources to fulfill their own needs. We believe that dependency can be countered by policies that foster attitudes and aptitudes for independence.
A nation of dependents can be neither great nor prosperous. To reverse the deterioration in today's society, some changes are fundamentally required. The contrast has been made that there are two visions of government: a government that encourages ownership, opportunity, and responsibility or a government that takes your money and makes choices for you. Truly, making YOUR choice for YOU is limiting ones' span of freedom. A good place to start is at the heart of an attitude. The core of that attitude is to reinforce the idea that it is the responsibility of each individual to shape HIS or HER own position in life as independent contributing citizens with individual initiative and personal creativeness. That is the core of freedom and liberty! And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.