It’s About Freedom, Stupid!

Jun 15, 2012 by

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org

By Frank Salvato

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” – John Adams

I was listening to a local radio program when one caller, his voice rife with exasperation at the politics of the day, made a very astute, yet basic observation, and one that really should be the quintessential question for this election. The host was having a discussion about Jeffersonian political ideology and how far we have distanced ourselves from that founding dogma, when the caller brought up two of the most basic and essential tenets of freedom: the free market and private property. He stated – and quite accurately – that when the free market is compromised by governmental regulation, and when the principled concept of private property is usurped by governmental confiscation, we cease to live as free people.

As I listened to the conversation and how they chronicled the abdication of personal freedoms over the years, I couldn’t help but begin to feel sympathetic to the caller’s exasperation. Indeed, under the guise of creating “safety net” entitlement programs, we, the people from which the power to be governed is derived, in almost every instance, have ceded personal freedoms to the government. We have ceded them through a litany of never-ending regulation and taxation. Today, that excessive regulation has grown to literally suffocate the American free market, while disproportionate taxation is killing off the middle and upper classes; killing off Ayn Rand’s “producers.”

To say that our American free market system has been compromised by government regulation is perhaps the understatement of the decade. From the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to the Dodd-Frank Act, from the NCLB to the EPA and, of course, Obamacare, the American free market Capitalist system is under siege by the federal government gone wild.

And if over-regulation weren’t stifling enough, now comes word that Pres. Obama and his team of “free trade” negotiators are currently working on an agreement with eight Pacific nations that will heavily favor foreign corporations and governments in the global markets, even as we hear Mr. Obama and his communications team declare, ad nauseum, that the United States exists in a “global economy.”

According to, of all publications, The Huffington Post:

“The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration’s advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.

“Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the US would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.

“The terms run contrary to campaign promises issued by Obama and the Democratic Party during the 2008 campaign.”

It’s sad to have to state this for the record, but the idea of “free trade”; the concept of “free trade”; the definition of “free trade” is this:

“International business not restrained by government interference or regulation.”

It doesn’t get any simpler than that…and with government interfering and regulating business and the marketplace beyond any reasonable degree – and with a free market being one of the critical elements in a free society – we must conclude that we are not a free market nation and, thus, not a free nation.

If that weren’t enough to argue that the United States has ceased being a free nation, levels of inequitable taxation have reached a critical juncture. Even as 47 percent of the American people escape paying federal income taxes, elected Progressives insist that those who currently shoulder the burden of financing the “safety net” entitlement programs and spendthrift policies of the federal government are somehow “not paying their far share.”

Even a C-student second-grader could do the math; when the very few are flipping the bill for the overwhelming and still growing majority of people receiving entitlement benefits from the federal government the stage is set for economic catastrophe.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Nearly half, 48.5 percent of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4 percent lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

“The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years.

“Means-tested programs, designed to help the needy, accounted for the largest share of recipients last year. Some 34.2 percent of Americans lived in a household that received benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid.

“Another 14.5 percent lived in homes where someone was on Medicare. Nearly 16 percent lived in households receiving Social Security.

“High unemployment and increased reliance on government programs has also shrunk the nation’s share of taxpayers. Some 46.4 percent of households will pay no federal income tax this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That’s up from 39.9 percent in 2007, the year the recession began.”

If I didn’t know any better I would have to say that Progressives, even as they protest anyone who suggests the idea as conspiracy theorists, are in the final stages of the Cloward-Piven Strategy. And when you couple the domestic entitlement and tax statistics with the Obama Administration’s “free trade” foreign favoritism, it would be hard to argue against the notion.

I wrote recently, in an article titled, The Dominoes of Cloward-Piven:

“It is easy to see how our expanding entitlements and our population’s expanding dependency on government, combined with the purposeful engagement in reckless fiscal policy, plays directly into the demise of the country by accelerating the poison of the Cloward-Piven Strategy…

“As we watched the so-called Arab spring play out, we saw that international labor unions – international labor unions, the likes of the SEIU – had boots on the ground, honing their organizational skills, as violent chaos reigned supreme. In Greece, as in Spain, France, Italy and every other European locale wrestling with financial insolvency, labor unions – international labor unions – were on the frontlines of the protests, antagonizing the anarchists and fomenting discontent amongst the masses. In each locale the tactic was the same: Get the masses irate enough to demand, ‘Give me what I deserve,’ even if they don’t deserve it; even if they haven’t earned it. To those provoking the anger it makes no difference if there is nothing to give; that these governments are in such massive debt that there is a very real possibility that they will all fail, one domino after another…

“It cannot be denied that those in power today in Washington are incredibly reluctant to embrace the sweeping reforms needed to make our bloated entitlement system viable. In fact, as the actuaries at Social Security and Medicare sound the alarm about impending insolvency should drastic reform not be implemented, the tax and spend Progressives in Washington are adding to the entitlements rolls, even as a natural spike is about to occur with the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Today, as our unfunded liabilities stand at $118 trillion, the House Minority Leader has the unmitigated gall to say of the expanding unemployment rolls, ‘It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.’”

Perhaps the most stunning thing to me, in all of this, is that the American citizenry hasn’t been bright enough to contemplate what it means to allow government to encroach on personal freedom; what the antithesis of freedom is. Even more stunning is that the very demographic that suffered the most under slavery – the Black demographic – is, this time, freely abdicating their hard-fought-for freedom for the promise of entitlement; for the promise of “something for nothing.” And to think that 364,511 souls from the Union Army fought and died to right the wrongs of slavery only to have the very people they freed acquiesce to slavery, once again, voluntarily through the ballot box, just 150 years later. An argument could be made about whether today’s American Liberal and Progressive Black demographic is worthy of the price paid by those who fought for their freedom.

All in all, this coming election is not about singular issues, although each and every one of them is important. It is about the soul of our country; the direction we choose for our nation as we stand at this very important and historical fork in the road. Honestly, the question facing our nation, the question we will answer at the ballot box on November 6, 2012, is not whether we want Obamacare or not, and it isn’t whether we want fiscal responsibility and limited government or not. The question facing our nation this election cycle is this: Do we want to remain a nation of free peoples, or do we want to revert to the tyranny of being a kept people. It is the most important question you will ever ask yourself. It is the most important question you will ever answer.

The Rev. William John Henry Boetcker, a Conservative political philosopher, is perhaps best known for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots, which emphasizes freedom and responsibility of the individual on himself. Ronald Reagan quoted Boetcker’s writing in his address to the 1992 Republican Convention in Houston.

Rev. Boetcker’s text states:

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

What say you?

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