This is my response to Tim’s My View of Government post. I thought he did a great job with it, keeping it concise and not too confrontational. I’m not sure I’ll do as well as he did in those respects, but here’s my attempt:
I believe in the rule of law over the rule of power.
- Laws should be written to require as little interpretation as possible. When a law requires subjective, case-by-case judgement on where the law does or does not apply, it invites abuse of this power. Laws should apply to all equally, and should not be created for the benefit of one group over another.
- Freedom needs to be reestablished as a guiding principle in the government of our country. Every time a new law or program is proposed, the legislature should be asking how the new measure impacts our freedom. Lately, freedom seems to be a “nice-to-have”, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the new program we’ve envisioned. The freedom to choose between obedience and punishment is not true freedom.
- Government should have less control over our lives. I find it disturbing that so many people want to hand over management of more and more of their lives to the government. People want the government to tell them how to be healthy, make sure they save for retirement, protect them from bad investments, and force everybody to be nice to each other. When a person is elected to office, they don’t suddenly gain some great insight into our lives that enables them to make better choices for us than we can for ourselves. Nobody can make better choices for you than you can. If you don’t like making your own choices and taking responsibility for them, too bad. Welcome to adulthood.
- The founders of the country chose to specifically protect religious liberties for a reason. Freedom of religion is more than being allowed to believe what you want, and it’s more than freedom of speech. Freedom of religion means being allowed to practice your religion, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. A person’s viewpoint (political or otherwise) should not be treated as invalid simply because it is influenced by religion.
- Government office should not be viewed as a means for philanthropy or other projects. Everyone in this country has their own idea of what would make a great society – feeding the poor, protecting the environment, dealing with the punk kids that hang out on the corner, and so on. Just because you were elected to the Senate doesn’t mean that we want you to impose your great idea on everyone. Don’t forcibly take people’s money (i.e., taxes) to fund your pet project.
- The current number of laws and taxes on the books is out of control. I realize that government is complicated, and that not everything can be boiled down to a simple statute or two, but why do we measure a legislator’s value by the amount of legislation he/she puts forth? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that a person should be able to be familiar with the bulk of the legal code, at least the part that applies to them. When the U.S. Code is over 200,000 pages, this is not possible.
- Our military presence has really gotten out of control, both in terms of size and scope. Our military budget is roughly equal to that of the rest of the world, combined. Why? Well, have you heard the story of the guy who was bitten by a rattlesnake, and instead of going to the hospital, he runs around the desert chasing the rattlesnake until he dies? Well, this country is that guy. I don’t even remember if he ends up killing the rattlesnake in the end, and I’m not sure it matters.
And finally, a rant that didn’t quite fit in anywhere else:
- The “American Dream” is not home ownership. It is not a college education. It is not a steady income, or insulation from unhappiness. “It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”