Five Ideas on American Government

For my inaugural post I wanted to do something that would be informative and fun. So I settled on writing out some of my political opinions, and then providing some of my favorite political memes. First, my political opinions. Feel free to skip to the memes, though.

1. Limited government is the best way to guarantee liberty for all

In general I agree more with libertarian/classical liberal ideas on government. That basically means that I understand that there is a necessity for some level of government, but that it should be limited in size and scope so as to make it more difficult for oppressive regimes to form. As a general rule I want everyone to do as they will as long as what they will does no demonstrable harm to others. Laws should only be made to punish people who violate the rights of others, not to punish eating a certain food or drinking a sugary beverage or smoking this but not that plant. Adults should be free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they do not harm anyone else in the process.

2. Federalism aids in the establishment and maintenance of limited government

In the context of the United States, it seems that our federal republic is the best means by which to limit oppressive policies and laws. The diffusion of political authority among the states, localities, people and the US Government created safeguards and barriers to oppression, while at the same time it created an atmosphere conducive to the attainment, maintenance, and perpetuation of individual freedom. In order to keep our republic, we must adhere to the separation of powers, not only those established between the branches of government, but also those that exist between levels of government, and between the government and the people. Republican government is hard, but it is worth doing right.

3. Taxation should be just enough to carry out constitutional authorities

A lot of people that identify as libertarian like to say that taxation is theft. They justify this by saying you have no choice but to pay your taxes. If you do not, there will be a knock on your door one day, and you will open it to find gun-toting men with a warrant for your arrest. They argue that if anyone else were to force you to give them money at gunpoint that person would rightly be guilty of theft; so it is, they say, with the government. However, taxation in general is at worst a necessary evil. Onerous taxation can rightly be called theft, yet what qualifies as onerous taxation is different for different people. To ensure that our government does not become tyrannical, corrupt, or war hungry, taxation should be limited to just enough to provide for those authorities and powers the government has been granted by the Constitution.

4. Social welfare should come from the states

Our constitutional federal republic has separated certain authorities and powers between the states and the federal government. Without getting too academic on this--I will be writing a post about this topic in the future--our system has reserved certain powers to the states. Thus, healthcare legislation and education legislation must come from the states. On education, there is no reason there cannot be a federal standard or curriculum, but educational control should be at the state and local level. Healthcare should also be handled at the state level. If we want universal care, why not have our state provide it? It would be more easily controlled by the people; it would be more easily tailored to regional and even local needs. If worse comes to worst the state capital is only a couple hundred miles away, easily reached by most people to protest and demand change, as opposed to potentially traveling well over 2,000 miles to reach DC.

5. In lieu of government action, the republican virtue must take hold

The republican virtue, as described by Thomas Jefferson, is the idea that the good of the one is tied up with the good of the whole. It is best described as brotherly love. If we were all to adhere to this virtue, governments would get rid of those laws that punish churches for housing the homeless. We the people can take care of each other without the government. We don't have to rely on the government to care for the needy, we can do it ourselves. When government takes care of charity, it gains power over the lives and well being of individuals, which can be used by later, ostensibly less benevolent, leaders for oppressive, illiberal and undemocratic means. Together, and without government, we can eliminate homelessness, feed the hungry and clothe the naked. If we remove the need for government to care for individuals and provide said care in our own communities, we will construct a more perfect union than any government could hope to form.

In my future posts, I will discuss theoretical topics and current events alike. I intend to write about the separation of powers/checks and balances, federalism, ideas on perfect unions and how they apply to our union, and various other topics that I have yet to think of. Furthermore, I will dissect news stories from the position of a liberty minded person.

In Liberty,

Jeff McCloud