THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 224, May 18, 2003
YOU CAN'T WIN?
Statists To Libertarians: "You Can't Win!"
Exclusive to TLE
The taunt goes out, from sea to shining sea, reflecting off purple mountains' majesty, across amber waves of grain, throughout the home of the brave and the land of the free: "Give it up, suckers!" Forget about human freedoms that are guaranteed by our Constitution, bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers, they say. "You can't win!"
This perpetual taunt goes out from all the dark corners of American political punditry like some tired, ugly Marxist cant that can't be killed. "It's historically inevitable!" goes the argument, so give it up, you libertarians, you Constitutionalists, you classical liberals, you patriots and freedom-lovers of all stripes.
"You can't win!"
The First Amendment, they happily point out, is being shouted down in the name of "campaign reform." The Second Amendment is being shot full of holes by patently unconstitutional "gun control" laws, including "assault weapon" bans. The Fourth Amendment has its door smashed and trashed in the name of "the war on drugs." The Fifth Amendment is bound and gagged in the name of ensuring successful prosecutions, and prisoners convicted of crimes that shouldn't even be on the books are thrown into hell-hole prisons filled with rape and violence where the strong eat the weak and human decency perishes. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments, in the meantime, are almost wholly ignored.
On and on the litany goes, driven by authoritarians and other lovers of unleashed government from both the Left and the Right. "Give it up, you freedom-loving fools," they taunt. "You can't win."
There's just one question: Why can't we win? What's so awful about Liberty in our lifetimes? Why can't we preserve the human, individual, God-given, Constitutional freedoms promised by America's founders?
Why? Because that's not the way things work in the world, they gleefully tell us. We need only look as far as Thomas Jefferson to see the truth of it. "The natural progress of things," Jefferson wrote to a friend in 1788, "is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."
Today in particular we can feel the truth of Jefferson's words, as multiple states teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, billions of dollars in debt, from one end of the country to the other. How did they get that way? Why, through "the natural progress of things." By overspending, over-reaching, over-taxing, and over-bloating their already bloated state governments during the high-living, high-taxing, high-spending good economic times of the 1990's. And then, when the inevitable results come rolling in, by wailing that "it's not our fault."
In the meantime, perpetually wrong fools in our "watchdog media" hold forth with the same perpetually wrong advice, elderly nostrums tried and failed, tried and failed: We need more government! We need to increase taxes to pay for "essential services" that are "demanded" by "the people"! It's the fault of "the anti-tax zealots"! The problem lies in Washington, DC! They should be taking care of the problem! (One such newspaper columnist, John Balzar of the Los Angeles Times, actually wrote much of the above in a column published on May 11, 2003, concluding, incredibly, that "in important ways the states never had a chance.")
"You don't have a chance! You're losers! Give up your stupid ideas about individual freedom! History is on our side!"
And then a strange thing happened. There came a young man named Jason Sorens. One good man, with one good idea. It is called "the Free State Project." If he were some kind of American prophet, he would be saying something like, "I have a dream! A dream where all of us may stand fast in the liberty wherewith the Founding Fathers made us free. We can attain our freedom, throw off our modern chains, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage!"
American prophet or not, how would we go about fighting the "inevitable tide of history"? How can we resist Jefferson's "natural progress of things"?
Just like this: You change the internal dynamics of the working machinery of government. You fundamentally change the power-relationship between government and the governed. You make the strengths of government power work in favor of freedom for a change, and against further expansion of that same government power. You make the normal, powerful, centralizing, expansionary, power-lusting, authoritarian tendencies of government and the people who seek to seize and wield its power...their weakness. In short, you change the rules of the game. You stop and then reverse "the natural progress of things."
In shorter, more direct terms, you read, think about, debate, discuss, and then implement five simple reforms. You read "Political Reform in the Freestate," by Tim Condon, Membership Services Director of the Free State Project.
And then you we, all of us make it happen.
Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.
Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?
The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"
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