Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Liberty lost

If you’ve been paying attention during this presidential election cycle (come to think of it, ditto practically every other presidential election cycle in the last 20 years, at least), you have probably noticed folks with a Republican perspective urging a vote for McCain, not so much on his own merit, but as a vote against Obama. What a sad state of affairs.

Those same people who urge you to vote for McCain also say voting for a third-party candidate is tantamount to voting for Obama, as if voting for what you really believe in (usually actual liberty vs. ephemeral political promises that never materialize) is somehow treasonous. Yeah, that’s it. Millions of American soldiers fought and bled, and many thousands had their lives cut short, just so you could use your vote not for the candidate who offers liberty, but because he doesn’t suck as bad as the other guy. Your precious vote is just a pawn to run political interference.

I submit that those who vote this way are the real traitors to America and the ideals it purports to stand for. Voting in this way ensures we will continue to get more of what is essentially a non-choice in the future. Which of these two candidates really speaks for liberty? The answer, of course, is neither.

The founding fathers never intended, and when setting up the structure of our government, never envisioned or made provisions for political parties as we know them, although I’m sure they were aware of the concept. This was, and is, the Achilles heel of the U.S. Government, and it will destroy us in the end. (Actually, I believe it already has; we are just feeding on the carrion of past liberty, and that can’t last forever.)

The irrational factionalism we see today--where the group or party comes first, the country as a whole country be damned--is antithetical to liberty. Sure, it parades itself as honest debate, but that’s just for public consumption. It’s real aim is the acquisition and concentration of power from the people, who willingly give it every time they vote for any person who sees liberty as an antiquated idea.

Liberty is a simple concept; it doesn’t need much government apparatus to guarantee its continuation. A small, part-time government with the following features is all that’s necessary: a simple, easily-understood document stating inviolable rights, a court system to address/redress legitimate grievances between parties, a reasonable import/export tariff on trade (hey, money to run even a small government has to come from somewhere), and the wherewithal to protect its citizens from domestic or foreign force or fraud. This is the medium in which liberty reaches its full fruition. But where’s the payoff in that for those fractured souls known as power seekers?

What a wonderful world the above paragraph describes. America came close to this ideal long ago, much closer than any country in history ever has, although it never actually grasped it. It took its liberty for granted for so long it eventually lost it and will never regain it. So be it.

Take care.

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