It was late summer of 2011. The news was blowing up with articles and speculation over the budget crisis, and the gridlock in Congress. Figurative buckets of icewater were upended over our heads as we realized that the political parties of our government could not set aside their partisan differences to solve a problem-namely, an exorbitant government budget, and only a small fraction of funds on hand.
Up until that summer, I was a more-or-less mainstream Republican. I sided with Republicans on issues, just because I knew I was conservative and figured that had to mean I was Republican. At some point in that debate-wrought summer, I began to ask what exactly the differences were between Democrats and Republicans. Yes, Republicans tended to hold some of my core values–they were most likely to be pro-life, pro-business, and anti-taxes (although, lets face it, everybody says they’re against taxes when election season comes around), but when it came down to it, Republicans were just as happy to make laws as Democrats are, and that is exactly where I realized my problem with the main political parties stems from. Republican and Democrats alike are happy to make laws all day long. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you want to sit on, you have to at least admit that most of what our senators and representatives do is make laws and pass acts.
My problem with this whole law-making business is that I believe this country was founded on freedom and for freedom. Our forefathers didn’t come here because there were laws about whether or not you could smoke marijuana. They came here for freedom: Freedom of religion, entreprenurial freedom, freedom to live their lives out from under the finger of an overstepping government.
When did we (as a nation) become more obsessed with our laws than with freedom?
(This is when Republicans and Democrats alike start clammering–“But these are good laws! We need them! We need more!”)
Sure, we need basic laws, to prevent society from becoming an anarchal chaos. Murder, Robbery, Assault. We all know what the big crimes are, and we know that they need to be prevented. People need to be deterred from damaging another person or his/her property, but why go any farther than that?
We have governments because we must. To keep an ordered society, government is a necessary evil. That doesn’t mean that we should leap into the arms of big government, expecting them to reward us for our inability to get a job, take care of us when we get sick, and make laws that are meant to save stupid people from themselves, but are actually utterly ineffective because–guess what! The stupid people aren’t magically becoming smart enough to abide by laws. Thomas Paine described the necessary evil of government best when he said, “Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.” (Thomas Paine, Common Sense). Both society and government are necessary, but Republicans and Democrats today try to combine the roles of society and government, and churn out laws regarding things that could and would be determined by the core values of society if left alone.
So now let me ask, what do you think the core values of the United States are? I don’t care whether you consider yourself Democrat or Republican. If you think that freedom (which is, the ability to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody else or take away somebody else’s freedom) is one of the main core values of the United States, ask yourself where you stop believing that principle, and then ask yourself why. Why do you reach a certain situation and suddenly think “Oh, but we need laws for that.”
If the value that we kept coming back to was, You have the freedom to do anything you want, as long as you don’t take away somebody else’s freedom to enjoy life and pursue happiness, what else would be necessary? Just think about it for a minute. So few of the laws our politicians make are actually necessary to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and so many of them flagrantly prohibit it, that we have created twin monstrous cliffs of destruction out of the Republican and Democratic parties. Each political party keeps growing the cliff and widening the gap between those cliffs until any attempt at compromise is certain to end, crumbled in pieces at the bottom of the gully.
I believe that we have come to a point in history where we need to set aside the corrupt political parties that currently rule us, and get to the root of our values. I don’t want to elect any more big government cronies thinly disguised as Republicans. I want to cast my vote for people who love freedom as much as I do. And I want to be as dedicated to the pursuit of freedom as our founding fathers were when this country began. That is how we will be able to bridge the awful gap between our current, warring political parties.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” (Patrick Henry, from his speech before the Second Virginia Convention, March 20, 1775)