Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 495, November 30, 2008

"The Thought Police have arrived."

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Getting What You Paid For
by A.X. Perez
perez180ehs -+at+-

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

"Fortunately we didn't get all the government we paid for.
—Robert A. Heinlein To Sail beyond the Sunset
(borrowed from Spider Robinson)

Back in the 1980's when I was much more naive I agreed with this line. It referred to the fact that taxes were high and even so the government was operating in the red but that it was far less intrusive and oppressive than it could have been (plus le change, plus la meme merde).

However, the taxes w pay are not intended (by most of us) to finance intrusion, oppression and over regulation. They are primarily protection money to keep the Res Nostra off our backs. Secondarily (and this is a way distant secondary in most cases.) they are payment to the government to carry out its contractual obligation to protect our inalienable rights, the goals of the preamble of the Constitution and the rights defined in the Bill of Rights.

So are the lives, liberty, property, and economic opportunities of the American people safer because of all the government we pay for? Are we more free to practice the faiths our educated consciences and consciousnesses lead us to? Are we more free to express the truth politically and artistically as we see it without being required to subsidize visions we disagree with? Can we more freely associate with people who upset the government? Can we arm ourselves to defend our lives, loved ones, liberties, property and freedom of movement in emergencies? Are we more secure in the rights that guarantee us justice if we are accused of crimes?

Or does the state freak out because someone showed a flash of nipple or said fuck on broadcast TV? Will our families be massacred because government agents had nothing better to do on a Sunday? Do we have to be afraid that government agents will start a gun fight with our kids by killing their dogs because they were trying to blackmail us into snitching on our friends? Will we be held in jail without bail or trial date until we confess to crimes and take suspended sentences just to get out? Will the head of our primary law enforcement agency complain that respecting our rights makes his work more difficult instead of announcing that he will dig in and enforce laws against official oppression against government agents who violate or interfere with the exercise of those rights?

In the sense of being spared oppression we are indeed fortunate that we are not getting all the government we paid for. However, the Res Nostra isn't living up to its contract. We are not getting what we pay the government for. Whatever other benefits we receive from the government (and I must confess me and mine have gotten a pretty sweet deal from Uncle Sam over the years.) these are add ons, not the services and goods for which we originally contracted.

We're not getting what we paid the government for and it is time to start transforming the government into one that lives up to its contract.

Or give the government its walking papers.


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