As little kids we were taught to share. As we grew up, we allowed the political elite to tell us that we had to share. In other words, in order for them to gain power, they told us that we needed to share what we had with others, and that to make sure that we shared they would oversee the process, and as payment for their oversight they would take a small portion off the top and be allowed to direct us in what we did in our daily lives.
So in essence they would, as representatives of us, put themselves in the business of everyone and make sure that they were sharing whatever it was that they had. This led to the oversight person being able to meddle in the daily lives of those that he oversaw. If the person behaved badly, even out of the sight of others, he had to be corrected because his behavior might mean he could no longer produce for the benefit of the whole. "Did you wear your seat belt today into work, Mr. Jones?" inevitably has to lead to "Did you eat your bran muffin today, Mr. Jones?"
Why anyone would care or even desire to have that much power over his fellow citizens is unfathomable to most .... but the key word is power, and as Lord Acton reminds us: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That means the whole game is about power and maintaining that power.
Further, that power generally derives from two sources: 1. The poor that gain by taking the wealth of the middle class; 2. The companies that have learned how to game the system and keep out competition and/or take the wealth of the middle class through legislation, such as the recent invention of the stimulus packages.
Now let's shift focus to the thought that if we don't share, then we are evil. Well, this is true in some instances, but the problem arises when some unknown party forces us to share with someone that is also unknown to us. The concept was fine when it was Mom making us share with our younger brother something that she had bought both of us with her money. But for someone with the force of military, jail or other extreme threat takes from us and gives to another, then we have glorified theft under the guise of sharing. And because we were taught as little kids to share, we are ashamed to speak out differently in fear of the dreaded "selfish" word being foisted upon us.
Let me propose the following: how about we take care of ourselves first? I agree that I will pay taxes for the roads I use and the police protection that I receive, and you pay for your own schooling and social programs that you want. If you want to have that special cross stitch class, go for it, but don't ask the government for a grant to fund it. If I want that business grant, I'll go to private sources for it and will not take a penny from you .... unless you want to participate with me.
The other day a good friend of mine, who is about my age and in great health, had not bothered to seek work for many months. Meanwhile, I was slaving away every day. When I inquired how he managed to survive, his reply was "food stamps", an unending supply and they do not even make you look for work nor prove your need. "They merely take your word for it all." Now there is something dreadfully wrong with that picture. I should be able to provide him with a hand up if need be, but for the government to force me to empty my refrigerator on behalf of an able-bodied, highly educated man, or anyone else, is absurd. Now for sure the selfish word is being flung at me from every angle. However, the government attempting to take care of one area of a person's life has led to government trying to take care of every aspect of our lives and has nullified the need for charity.
When you used to rely on your church or neighbors in time of need, you felt that you had an obligation in good times to be neighborly or to participate in the very organization that you might need to come to your rescue or even salvation. When Big Mama government does it, your obligation to your community is greatly diminished.
Mr. Thomas Jefferson would die again if he knew that his revolution had come to a situation where I, as a citizen of these States United was so taxed and regulated that the government controlled every aspect of my very existence. He would certainly start the rebellion anew if he found out that I had to pay a tax on the property that I supposedly owned, in order to keep the State from stepping in and taking it away. But more than anything he would really be alarmed once he saw that the money went to people that did not deserve it nor did anything to earn it, and even more so if he saw that it went to some huge corporation that did nothing to earn it.
If I am to step on toes for the sake of freedom, let's all look to the fact that our hard earned money has also gone to places other than the able-bodied guy getting the food stamps, places such as the site development for some real estate venture. If you look closely, you will see that while your old aunt is forced to pay her property tax or lose the house that your father built and left for her, the very company that has the money to pay the tax has their taxes waived. And though they may bring work, so does the mom and pop store down the street, but they do not have the political power to get the same break that the big boys have gotten. Little do we realize that while we are paying every tax that they can squeeze out of us, these guys are not only having taxes waived but in many instances receiving direct cash payments out of your pocketbook.
No, don't fall for the line "they are bringing jobs", but look to the jobs that would be born if we had true freedom. Freedom to live our lives and freedom to keep the fruits of our hard labor. Both political parties have done us wrong -- both by taking from you, and by giving your money to someone that does not deserve what you earned for them. The theft and gift are equally egregious.
Why does this happen? Because we let it -- and it is time to stop it.
We have to end this cycle of dependence, just like the cycle of violence that exists in domestic violence matters. The abused spouse will not confront nor will they leave, because some of the time the bad person buys them flowers or hugs them. Meanwhile they have to suffer through countless abuses and humiliations. We have to force an intervention and tell our friends and neighbors that freedom will be better than having to live with the ones that constantly abuse us.
Just imagine the businesses that would appear if such liberty and freedom existed. If freedom from taxes draws the big boys, imagine how many jobs would be created by more freedom for all. On the same hand if my friend had to rely on me or his family for his food, then my offer of some work might be more palatable for him.
We have to not only get ourselves off the addiction of the abusive cycle, we have to intervene on behalf of our children that are now getting roped into debt to pay for our addiction. We must demand to be freed from these shackles of an ever more intrusive and abusive government. And in order to do that, we must be willing to step out on our own and fend for ourselves. Our founding fathers were willing to face the loss of the mighty British Empire for freedom. Certainly we can take care of ourselves, our family and friends in need, in order to gain the same freedom.
We have all seen the image of a snake hissing "don't tread on me" on the Gadsden Flag of the Revolutionary War era. We should in the same theme simply say, in a modern kind of way "just leave me alone, I'll do just fine." For it's not that we seek power over others, we merely seek freedom to live our lives free of excessive intrusions.
Ben Hand grew up in war-torn Nicaragua during the communist conflict of the 1970's. He was the 1994 Republican nominee for the U.S. House for the 3rd district in Alabama.