License not Liberty Part II

May 25, 2012 by

In my previous article, I established the idea of Liberty and what comes with Liberty.  Liberty is not a command to be completely and totally free, it is a commandment to be wise and rational about our freedom.  Thus, Liberty is not merely a gift with which you can do as you please, it is a responsibility that one has to do what is right and wise.

Now, with that established, I can begin showing its existence in certain examples.  First, let us look at politics, the easiest and most evident of the examples.  Now, the ideal for Liberty is the American Revolution.  In the 1770′s, America was under the control of the British crown.  At the time, the British Parliament was trying to assert its authority over the governments of the colonies.  America, used to self-government during the period where Britain was more concerned with France than governing, opposed this assertion.  The reason being that they were not represented in Parliament.  The argument was not that easy in Britain.  In America, much of the population could vote.  In Britain, only some cities had representation, cities which were prominent more than two centuries ago.  So, places were population had drastically grown over the past hundred years had no representation, while places where population dwindled to a select few had representation.  Thus, is Parliament representative?  Parliament claimed yes.  They asserted an idea known as ‘virtual representation’.  Virtual representation is the idea that all elected officials in Parliament represent Britain’s interests as a whole and not the individual cities who elected them.  Also, if a person not within one of those cities wishes to influence the government more directly, they can either move to a represented city or attempt to influence those people already living in a represented city.  Now, this system is, while better than most European countries, not truly a representative government.  However, Great Britain accepted this as a representative government.  Thus, when the Americas complained about a lack of representation, Great Britain pointed to their belief that the representatives in parliament represent them as well as all British subjects.  Also, the problem was that the two methods for influencing the vote were unavailable to the Americas, because of a small thing called the Atlantic Ocean.  So, in response to “Taxation without representation,” the American Revolution took place.  This revolution was for the idea that the people of a country should decide the fate of the country.  This is consent theory of government and is the equivalent of political self-government.  It is a revolution for political Liberty.

Now, with the revolution’s achievement of political Liberty came the responsibility of wisdom in government.  However, this does not mean our representative’s wisdom, but our own.  You see, when government is based on the people, the responsibility that comes with Liberty resides in the people, as well as the freedom to choose the direction of the country.  Thus, in this nation we have an ability to vote.  However, our ability to vote does not mean that we should be voting just on the basis of who looks the best or what party they belong to.  Rather, we must go out and educate ourselves on the issues.  We have a responsibility to find out exactly what it is that we are voting on, what the consequences are, and what benefits it can give us.  That way, when we have all the information, we can make an informed decision.

Many today, however, seem ignorant of the consequences that arise from their uninformed vote, from their party line vote, and from their lack of voting.  “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”  -Thomas Jefferson.  As Jefferson notes, Liberty cannot be maintained in ignorance.  There are three reasons why Liberty would be taken away:  Foreign conquest, Financial Ruin, and the formation of tyranny within the state.  Thus, when it comes to foreign policies, we should be informing ourselves on the best course of action for maintaining our Liberty.  This generally has little to do with actual conquest now a days.  However, we must keep vigilant on this front.  The second to causes are much more real and prevalent towards our Liberty’s modern existence.  When it comes to Liberty, a nation which possess no economy cannot survive, for the government has nothing to run on.  Now, we have an economy in this nation, which shall be explained at length in the following article.  But, another financial fear is that of a nation with a debt that it cannot pay.  Currently, our debt is equal to our GDP, though organizations like the Heritage foundation report that it actually exceeds our GDP.  If the debt leads to bankruptcy, then our future will depend on the wishes of our debtors.  That is not the definition of Liberty.  The final cause of the retraction of political Liberty from a society is the formation of a Tyranny.  Most Americans equate the formation of tyranny with violent overthrows and coups within the government.  However, as our esteemed friend Mr. James Madison notes, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”  Governments do not steal away your liberty through loud uproars and large grasps, but silent and slow means.  I was once in a class that ‘taught’ me how to form an argument.  It stunned me to hear that the argument for slippery slopes was a faulty argument.  Evidently, the belief that not doing something because it will gradually lead to something else is ALWAYS a bad argument according to the elites academics.  But, slippery slopes do seem to exist.  Take this idea: the EPA in  Fiscal year 2011 passed 15 new major regulatory measures.  (1)  But, this does not seem like much.  Who cares about fifteen.  Well, besides the cost of these fifteen, take into account that this is only one agency, that you heard little about it, and that this increases their power over the economy and life by 15 regulations every year.  15 new regulations a year adds up to big numbers very quickly.  The problem of the Bureaucracy that is well entrenched in America reminds me of the skit by Yes Prime Minister by the BBC.

This skit illustrates how tyranny from bureacracy can expand encompassing our power to oversee our own government, and ends the liberty which we hold so dearly.

Thus, with this I think it safe to acknowledge the importance of an informed voter.  The voters need to be informed of the issues and elect those whom will best protect their liberty against the various forms in which tyranny arises.

 

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

-Thomas Jefferson

 

“We have staked the whole future of American Civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it.  we have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government.”

-James Madison

 

(1)  http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/red-tape-rising-a-2011-mid-year-report

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