It seems that one of the basic questions facing us today is
the same one that Americans have been arguing since the nation’s inception.
That question is:
What is the correct role of government? How much is too much? When is enough; enough?
In discussing this we need to revisit the state of man in nature
where he is the only authority and then decide what decisions we want to
relinquish if any.
British physician and political philosopher John Locke state
this condition of man as follows:
“a state of perfect freedom of
acting and disposing of their own possessions and persons as they think fit
within the bounds of the law of nature. People in this state do not have to ask
permission to act or depend on the will of others to arrange matters on their
behalf. The natural state is also one of equality in which all power and
jurisdiction is reciprocal and no one has more than another. It is evident that
all human beings – as creatures belonging to the same species and rank and born
indiscriminately with all the same natural advantages and faculties – are equal
So now here we are in a state of perfect freedom but we find
that it would benefit us to associate with other who are in the same state of
At first one or two from time to time. And we find that on
those occasions where we join with these others and tent together we are far better
able to defend our property from predators animal or human.
Now generally, in small numbers, like two or perhaps three,
we all get on fine. I do my thing, they do theirs and we all agree to keep our
personal habits and ways out of the public area between the tents.
At some point as this group grows, someone will see that I
like to chew betel nut. They don’t like betel and find the sight of my stained
Now comes the problem. Rather than turning away or refusing
to look at me or staying home or walking another way or just getting a flaming
grip, they decide to lobby the group and convince them that betel nut should be
banned. Not just in the public areas but in all private residences as well.
Perhaps it is written in the scrolls of the Forest Spirit, “Youse guys bettah
not chew dat freakin’ Betal nut” and they will site this as proof of their
righteous purpose. Perhaps the local barber who also does dentistry says, “Chewin’
that betel is frightful bad for the teeth” and they will site this as reason
for a prohibition on Betel as a dangerous substance.
Now if the community would have said STOP! Just after the
suggestion that they had a right to decide what a person does in the private
areas, the community could go on as before making whatever rules it wishes for
its public areas by a majority vote of the citizens. But when that person or
community attempts to dictate my behavior on my own property it has gone beyond
its authority under the law of nature as stated above. Only with my consent can
they dictate my behavior and I don’t give it. By word or inference. I will not
relinquish my rights or my right to make decisions for myself where they don’t
conflict with others rights.
There is no good reason other than one persons desire for
power over another that people can’t live together and yet practice different
religions, dietary habits, personal habits (such as chewing Betel nut), and
other personal choices.
As time goes on you realize that when you get a few decades
older, you may not be able to defend your property as well as you once did and
your flocks are harder to care for than they once were. As everyone else is in
the same boat they all decide to set up an agency to distribute food and lend a
hand where needed or even to just take over your care if necessary. You will
pay in now and when you get old it will come back in the form of whatever you
need. Simple right? You designate a person or group of people to administer the
system and away you go. You have just created Social Security (albeit a really
good S.S. System).
The problems arise when those folks you appointed to
administer your new system begin to cause the system to evolve and change so
that they begin to compare the value of your cabbages to the value of my corn
or the value of one persons home compared to that of another person’s home and
use the inverse tangent of the triangle formed by the convergence of the three
rivers in conjunction with the amount of free time you have on an average Saturday
in June to estimate the amount of help due you.
Now they no longer operate the system for your benefit. And
only they know the intricacies of the system.
Now they say, “Since we control the system we have decided
that to be a part of the system, you must not be a betel nut chewer. If you
chew, you forfeit all claims to help and lose all that you have contributed.
Again, the desire for power over other people.
Or you may find as your community grows that in addition to
Social Security, you need water and sewer systems and someone to manage them.
Then electric service and telephone and someone to manage those and before you
know you have created a bureaucracy. And now the rules and restrictions begin
to flow from the mouth of the system like water from a pitcher. And through complexity you have unwittingly
surrendered your rights or perhaps wittingly. Lies may come into play, “we need
to dictate public policy in order to assure continued service etc.
In the end you have lost all say in your life in order to
gain the benefits of society.
But society need not be such a burdensome thing if we just
remember to say STOP!!! When our rights are in danger. This country has gone on
far too long with these personal decisions being dictated by one power group or
another. Making arbitrary laws or laws designed to protect the interests of a
few. Prohibition is a prime example of just such a law. I don’t have to look at
the history books to know that Prohibition was not supported by a majority of
Americans. Yet it not only became law but was ratified as an amendment to the
This whole thing is beyond ridiculous. The idea that any
government should have the authority to tell me what I can and can’t drink or
smoke or wear in my own home in order for me to live in the community is in
direct conflict with the nature of man and the rights of man.
For them to dictate to me what I can possess anywhere
is the same. So to say you can’t chew Betel in the town square is ok if that is
the wish of a majority of citizens but not to say you can’t have it in your
pocket. And what you have or chew in your own home or on your own property is
never within their purview.
The idea that one must conform in all ways to the desires of
any community in order to reap the benefits of association with that community
is a recipe for conflict and civil unrest. Someone will always be unhappy with
The natural response would be to say that if you don’t like
the rules of the community, move. But in the world we live in, it is nearly
impossible to find a place where someone isn’t dictating the rules that you
must follow and inflicting cruel and extreme punishments on those who refuse to
conform. They don’t say, “Get out you Betel Chewer”. They make possession of Betel
Nut illegal and force you to stay. Under arrest.
The people who are in power all over the world are not
satisfied to control our behavior in the town square. They are not satisfied to
control our behavior in our homes. The people in power all over the world want
to control our behavior no matter where we go. Or lock us up to prevent us
escaping to a place where we can control our own behavior.
Of course most people are not prepared to move into a Yurt
in the wilderness to secure these freedoms.
And again, why should they have to? We say we want a free country.
We are even so deluded as to say that we have a free country. But we will never
be free until we tell the government we demand our rights. Until we set a clear
standard of uncompromising focus that stops these restrictions to freedom and
forces the government to work for the people in truth as well as in rhetoric.
My need for a sewer system or electricity does not translate
to a willingness to give up my rights and freedom to do as I please as long as
I don’t stop another from doing as they please also.
My need for the protection of the community does not
translate to a willingness to give up my Betel Nut or a willingness to allow
them to imprison me for having one in my home, or growing it in my garden, or
chewing it with my morning coffee.
Freedom in a large community requires tolerance and the
ability to mind your own business. It’s those who would seek the power to
control who are the least worthy of such power. Those who know what’s good for
others that are bad for everyone.