By David McKalip, M.D.
Like most Americans I am sick of election year politics. The choices up and down the ballot are usually just between two evils (neither of which is usually “lesser). The best example of this is between a lying, corrupt collectivist (Hillary Clinton) and a lying, corrupt collectivist (Donald Trump). Neither of the candidates for President offer policies that will address the cause of the vast majority of ills that plague the American people: out of control government. Neither candidate is campaigning on cutting spending, decreasing the national debt, reforming entitlement programs or decreasing the power of government in any meaningful way. Both want 1) more spending and no reform for bankrupt entitlement programs (Medicare/Social Security) 2) new entitlement programs (“free” federally funded daycare and health insurance for all), 3) vast federal “infrastructure” spending, 4) government deciding how companies conduct their business (Trump: 35% tariff on Ford, Hillary: Crippling taxes on Coal) and 5) laws that interfere with freedom of the press (Trump: “strengthening libel laws”, Hillary: net neutrality). In short both candidates promise expanded government on the domestic front while at the same time promising to bring American into military conflicts (Trump: ISIS and Hillary: Syria/Russia no-fly-zone). How have Americans ended up in such danger from the likes of Clinton and Trump? The short answer is that we have not taken control of our government and have rejected key ingredients that create a peaceful and prosperous society.
Our government was designed to have very limited powers. It was not designed to provide free health care, low cost student loans, educational funding to or control of local schools, national standards for bathroom sex designation and more. Our federal government was not designed to allow one man (the President) to commit acts of war (bombing Libya) without Congressional approval. Our government was designed to 1) create a justice system to protect citizens from fraud at the federal level and to restrain government from over-reach 3) bring together the states and its citizens for national security. In short, our government is designed to prevent force and fraud. Our government was also designed – on purpose – to have so many roadblocks to action by politicians that it would actually accomplish very little. The system of checks and balances is profound: a) Three branches of government, each with equal power, b) two houses of congress for passing laws, c) a limited set of enumerated powers in the Constitution (for instance, only the House of Representatives can initiate spending), d) clear prohibitions against federal government action (in the bill of rights), e) reservation of power to the people and to the states (the tenth amendment). These constitutional limits on government have all been made meaningless through Presidential Executive orders, Congress delegating law-making to the Executive branch (through rules), Congressional central economic planning, and courts that legislate from the bench (all key components of the Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”). Yet we now have two candidates for US President who essentially argue that all the federal government and Americans need is the “right” person to run the government. Trump and Clinton both assert that only the smartest, the most caring, the toughest, the most experienced person as our national potentate will ensure the greatest prosperity and peace for the citizens of America. The same is true of nearly every person running for the US House, Senate, state legislature, city council and those who push constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives to ensure that government decides how we shall lead our lives and how the economy will work.
The fact is that our government was designed to support the ability of individuals empowered by their own initiative and exercising their natural rights in free, fair markets to create prosperity and happiness for themselves (and thereby producing a better society). American Founder and second President John Adams stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people; It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”. Yet both Presidential candidates and most politicians are not about individualism, they are instead about collectivism. The collectivist believes that society is before the individual. Collectivists believe that governments decides what rights people have, rather than citizens deciding what rights government has. The Collectivist sets up central planning of the economy by elites who decide who will win and who will lose and offer platitudes about the false definitions of the “common good” and “social justice”. Americans now have government that is largely collectivist in nature because we have stopped demanding our individual liberty and have asked for the government to provide for us. We have become a nation seeking a King and forgotten we were founded by men and women who overthrew a King and the dictatorship of that monarchy. Americans now have a collectivist government because the vast majority of Americans are no longer, as Adams promoted, “moral” or “religious”. Americans seek gain for themselves only through loss of another (the poor vs the rich, the young medicare contributor vs the Old Medicare beneficiary, the worker vs. the company, the company operating in America vs. the company seeking safe harbor across our border). Most Americans place themselves above God, believe they can decide right and wrong and that the commandments from Heaven don’t matter when they can achieve their desires through the commandments of government. Hillary supporters talk of destroying businesses that don’t sell a cake to a gay wedding ceremony. Trump supporters talk of destroying businesses that overcome federal regulation and wage laws by moving their companies to places with reasonable operating expenses.
There is only one way to not have to worry about which politician is holding office. There is only one way to end the corruption of government that leads to the destruction of its citizens. The people must take control of our government and end the power that circulates through the hands of the political class. When governments (federal, state, and local) can’t take tens of trillions in taxes and redistribute it to those it favors, Americans will be free and few will seek power in those halls. American will be free and prosperous when the government can’t decide what you can say, to whom you can say it, whom your private business will and won’t serve, what companies must pay its workers and what political agendas the company must accomplish for the powerful. Americans will know liberty when government steps in only when it seeks to overcome the most egregious violations of individual liberty – which are usually only by other governments (e.g. slavery and Jim Crow laws). Americans will know peace when our nation is not held hostage through its debt and led to war to resolve those debts and when the military industrial complex doesn’t lead our foreign policy. Americans will know peace when wars and military actions are declared only by Congress: when the American people know it must be done as the only option. When decisions that affect our lives are made in our own towns, communities and cities and not in the state capital or Washington, D.C., then Americans will not have to worry about which corrupt politicians they should try to discern is the “lesser” of two equally bad evils. Persons will be prosperous and secure in their communities when our local governments are not made up of collectivist progressive operatives or the greedy who seek to force their extremist or money-seeking will onto others in collusion with the well-healed political and corporate crony class. In short, when our government takes very little money from its citizens and has very little power to do anything, only then will we have control of our lives again and only then can we rightly ignore the role of government in our lives.
If Americans want to have a life of meaning that transcends the attempts of the political class to control us, then we must make government as meaningless and powerless as possible. That means we must struggle (peacefully) against powerful, expansive, corrupt government, seek to downsize and control it and refuse to help any candidate that supports it (even if others are deluded that their brand of politician is better). That means returning to our roots and our founding principles: Natural rights/Individual Liberty, Limited Government/Consent of the Governed, Free Markets/Property Rights, Equal Justice/Rule of Law. It also means re-orienting our lives toward a true morality that humbles ourselves before the Lord and rejects our own attempts to place ourselves and our hedonistic desires above what is morally right. Securing our peace and prosperity comes only from turning to God and acting in faith – because God gave us natural law that respects individual human rights and dignity, free markets, and limited government. If we want to be able to ignore the man made constructs that are failing us, then let’s embrace John Adam’s admonition to us that our constitution and our government is only fit for a moral and religious people. Then it won’t matter who runs for President, Congress, or Dog Catcher. The wealthy, well connected political class will have no government feeding trough and anti-competitive regulator as its unholy ally. The politicians can do very little to harm to citizens when they have very little power, but this will only happen if the people retake and retain the power that was granted to them by God at their birth.