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The Case for Liberty
Can we have liberty in our lifetime?
“Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin
Is America screwed? If you’re an avid consumer of the news, it sure seems like it.
The federal government has grown exponentially over the past century and shows no signs of slowing down. To make matters worse, Americans are at each other’s throats and talk of a national divorce — and even another civil war — has become commonplace in political discourse.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress and other areas of government are offering little in the way of solutions to the problems people are facing. In fact, if we didn’t know any better, we might be tempted to think the people in D.C. are only pretending to govern while working to grow their power as Americans become more distracted by the shiny objects pulsating on the computer, smartphone, and television screens.
Despite their desperate cries for policy to address inflation, crime, education, immigration, and other matters about which Americans are concerned, no efforts seem to be forthcoming from either political party.
The Democrats view government as the solution. The state must be the ultimate panacea to assuage the pain people are suffering. The party’s solutions never really address these problems — indeed, they only create more issues. It is a rare occurrence when the state actually solves an issue it created.
On the other hand, we have the Republicans, who are every bit as statist as Democrats, but far more deceptive in their pursuit of a more powerful state. When in front of cameras, its officials and legislators vociferously rail against the excesses of the state and make lofty promises to reverse the trend. If you only give them control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, they will finally roll back the state. Sometimes they even pretend to support the disbanding of various agencies like the Department of Education, the FBI, and IRS.
But despite their empty promises, they always fail to deliver when elected. Sure, they might pass a tax cut here and there. Other than that, they aren’t doing much. In fact, when was the last time a Republican president or Congres actually shrank the government significantly in recent memory?
Democrats are honest about their intention to continue giving the government more power while Republicans lie bout their desire to roll it back.
When campaigning, Democrats offer horrible solutions that will only grow the government and offer little respite from the nation’s issues. Republicans do nothing but complain about these ideas, but fail to offer any alternatives. The result is that the problem still remains and Americans eventually wind up choosing Democrats. This is what happened in the 2022 midterm elections.
As libertarian commentator Larry Sharpe says: “Democrats are the party of bad ideas. Republicans are the party of no ideas.”
So what are we supposed to do?
The problems we face remain regardless of which party occupies the White House and halls of Congress. The state continues to amass more power as socialist Democrats and complicit Republicans grow fatter and more powerful.
I would propose to you, dear reader, that the answer is liberty.
No, not “liberty” in the sense that it is used as a meaningless talking point by the GOP and conservative movement. I’m talking about weakening the power of the state over our everyday lives. I’m speaking of blunting the legislative sword wielded by the federal and state governments.
So what is liberty, then? Dictionary.com provides a few different definitions:
freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
The overall theme here is that humans are able to live and operate in the way they wish without the government using physical violence to stop them, provided they are not infringing on the rights of other humans. It means the apparatus of the state is only employed in situations in which people are being victimized.
This was the type of government the founders toiled day and night to establish. It is why so much blood was shed to water the tree of liberty. But our federal government has slid too far into the morass of tyranny to be saved at this point. Tragically, many state governments are following quickly behind.
It is still too early to count out state governments in most cases. But if those seeking liberty want any chance of winning over the long term, we must employ a laserlike focus on winning our local communities. This means influencing culture as well as politics.
This is part of the Mises Caucus’ Decentralized Revolution campaign laid out in December 2022. The group is currently recruiting candidates and campaign managers to run liberty-focused candidates in local races to begin the takeover of these positions.
After winning these local seats, these leaders can begin to implement a “nullification” strategy in which it subverts the unconstitutional excesses imposed by federal and state government. An example would be what we are seeing out of Illinois after its legislature passed a ban on “assault weapons.” Dozens of sheriffs have already announced that they will not enforce these measures as they violate the Second Amendment. This is nullification in action.
The campaign will not be an easy one. It will take a tremendous amount of sustained effort with a long-term aim. But if we can maintain momentum, we will see a return on investment in the future.
This does not mean, however, that we should ignore national politics; it is still important. But your mayor has a more direct impact on your life than the person occupying the White House. Your city council can hurt you far more directly than Congress. By focusing on the government that is closest to the people, we can begin to gradually affect change.
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