Freedom vs. Government

Government is force. It just is. Because if people agreed to do something or engage in a transaction voluntarily, they wouldn’t need government. In fact, everything that government does, from engaging in war to building a road, government has to use force. When government resolves a dispute between two parties, it is because the parties cannot agree, and government uses force to enforce their decision. No matter whether you call it “limited,” “big,” “socialistic,” “reasonable,” “good,” or anything else, government requires force to function. And if government didn’t have a monopoly on force, it would have little actual power.

So, for the purposes of this discussion, if you cannot accept that government is force, or if you do not have an open mind to consider that all government is force, please do not continue to read this post or comment, because I’m not interested in arguments for argument’s sake.

Political parties are the current driving force in government. In other words, whatever political party, or members of a political party, is in power, gets to decide exactly how government will operate — how and where government will apply force. In fact, if you observe the American civilization today, you will see that’s all that passes for government today: whoever can get the biggest numbers, the biggest support, or the most money goes to lawmakers to demand that certain laws be passed and force be used against others. That is, today, the US government. If you don’t have large numbers, you will be crushed, at least in the arena of government.

So, what chance is there for freedom in America, under the current system of government?

Sadly, I do not believe freedom has much of a chance of ever being seen in America again, at least under the current system of government and political process. I’ll, for now, avoid the discussion of how the country was set up, and the Constitution, as that’s another discussion. Instead, I’d like to see how freedom could again appears in America under the current government. What it would take is a large group of people coming together who wanted freedom. These people would have to elect people to represent them in government. Those elected representatives would have to remove laws that restrict freedom. In the process, those same elected officials would have to vote to reduce their own power, and reduce the power of a large (huge) number of bureaucrats.

The problem with that scenario is the large group of people. Today, a very substantial portion of the population of the country is directly or indirectly heavily dependent on government. This ranges from the obvious — people who have been receiving welfare for decades — to the not so obvious — government employees like the postal service and Amtrak. This can be seen today in the massive reactions by not just government employees, but by their neighbors and college students, in the recent case in Wisconsin. This was a huge group of people that was protesting because government was trying to increase freedom for one group — but this group saw it as a decrease in their own entitlements.

In addition, those who would have freedom not only have to battle those who would retain their livings from government from without (employees, friends, family); the battle also has to be won against those directly involved in government that have personal opinions that government is good — such as judges. There are a large number of court cases argued today in front of judges where taxpayers are on both sides — so no matter the decision, the taxpayers lose. But also, there are not many in the position of judge who have not been trained by the legal system that is supported by, and run by government. So there are few judges today that would ever rule in the favor of freedom and against government, simply because few judges are interested in upsetting the system that they have been a part of for so long.

The only real way to increase freedom today is to reduce government. There honestly is no other option. If government is construed to “grant” freedom, then government can, at a whim, take that freedom away. I can see numerous ways to increase freedom outside of the current government system. But I see few chances to change the current system into one that will increase freedom in any way. I do know the Republican Liberty Caucus thinks they can make that change. From what I have seen, the people in that group are focused on just what I’ve pointed out — using the current system, and the current system of politics, to reduce government in every way possible, resulting in an increase of freedom. It is quite a daunting task, and I do honestly hope they succeed. I’m just not sure I can see a system that has so many millions of people literally 100% dependent on it going away without a more massive, external force. Unfortunately, history tends to prove that I’m right.



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11 Responses to “Freedom vs. Government”

  1. Adam says:

    “…because I’m not interested in arguments for argument’s sake.”

    I can’t help but think that is directed at me. You seem to want to believe that since I’m here to argue that that means I purposefully take a point counter to yours just to be an ass. That would certainly make me a troll, for the record. You take me all wrong. I can’t help it if I generally disagree with your views or your facts and feel like stating my opinion in an open forum space. Under your definition only conservatives commenting on this site would not be trolls and that is unfair to those of us who enjoy debating politics online. But anyway…

    “The only real way to increase freedom today is to reduce government.”

    I get the point that government is force. I just know that I willingly give up pieces of my freedom so that for instance 50 million poor Americans get the chance to eat better through SNAP. I don’t mind that my federal tax dollars go toward budgets for the EPA or the FDA to help keep our environment and our food cleaner and safer for my family. I love that my tax dollars funds AMTRAK to help people travel without each having to drive cars everywhere they go.

    I guess my point is simply why do you want that freedom back? To feel free at the expense of services our organized society provides people? I’m not suggesting all government structure and regulation is good but that I still don’t get what you stand to gain by owing less in taxes at the expense of public services, of having more personal freedom at the expense of laws and regulations that maintain order and protect consumers.

    This is why folks will never elect people like Ron Paul to lead all of America. It has nothing to do with how many of us are on welfare or how many of us work for the government. About 84% of Americans are not on welfare. About 83% of employed Americans don’t work for the government. Do you really think the chunk of us that aren’t part of but do support such things are just friends and neighbors to someone who does? No. We just like it. We don’t like paying all these taxes really but we generally accept it because we like what the tax dollars provide.

    • Ogre says:

      Adam said, “I just know that I willingly give up pieces of my freedom so that for instance 50 million poor Americans get the chance to eat better through SNAP.”

      That’s wrong. It is completely and totally incorrect. YOU aren’t giving up your freedom at all. And YOU are not feeding 50 million people. Instead, YOU are willing to use force and violence to TAKE freedom from millions of other people so THEY can pay for 50 million people to be dependent on government.

      If we had freedom, you would be completely free to help whoever you wanted. That’s not giving up freedom, that’s helping people. Using force and violence against people is NOT you giving up anything.

      Most of your comparisons in your comment are also complete strawmen, just like this one.

  2. Blake says:

    The part i do not like Adam, is that government, through the threat of force, makes me party to things I might not like.
    True- I might like to help the veterans or the poor- but I would like it to be MY choice- that is called CHARITY, and is a good thing. When the government takes my money by threat of force, and gives it to someone else, that is TAXATION- and while my voluntary charity and the government’s taxes might even benefit the same thing, they also might not- and there’s the rub.
    I might not wish to engage in a civil war in Libya.
    Imagine if Lincoln had the UN on hi ass while he was fighting the south- Adam, you might be eating grits right now if the UN and other countries overtly took the South’s side in the War For State’s Rights.
    Isn’t it good for you they did not.
    Now, why are we?

    • Ogre says:

      That’s a good point, Blake — government is absolutely and completely incapable of charity. Worse, some of the people in government who give away the money believe they are wonderful people for doing so. They believe they are helping people — but in reality they’re using force and violence to get money from some people and harming others by making them dependent on government.

      Freedom allows those who want to help people help them. And then everyone benefits. But those who would crush freedom aren’t willing to use their own money to help — only others. Well, they might “contribute” a tiny, tiny portion, but that amount is insignificant. And that’s without even talking about the massive costs with any government program where government skims off large percentages of money collected for allegedly charitable purposes.

    • Adam says:

      I don’t know about you but I like grits. I’m not sure what that means really or why you’d be concerned about grits.

      • Blake says:

        Adam, feel free to deflect my comments and not answer the substance- was The War For State’s Rights really a “Kinetic military action”?
        Please- the progressive line HAS to be getting harder to toe.

  3. Adam says:

    “Instead, YOU are willing to use force and violence to TAKE freedom from millions of other people so THEY can pay for 50 million people to be dependent on government.”

    What you’re leaving off is that the public overwhelmingly supports programs like SNAP. You want to make me seem like I’m in a minority that is placing my will over a majority of Americans to forcefully remove pennies of their income for helping people eat better.

    The point of my comment was simply that folks like myself don’t support these encroachments on freedom because we’re dependent (or we hate freedom as you seem to believe). We support it because of what it accomplishes and it’s the will of the people.

    “Most of your comparisons in your comment are also complete strawmen, just like this one.”

    Right. And you didn’t answer my question. What will you or any of us gain by more freedom at the expense of programs the majority of Americans support and a good chunk of the population rely on from time to time?

  4. Ogre says:

    “The public” has nothing to do with freedom. It does not matter if one person wants to use violence against me, or if 1 million do. Either way, that is wrong, and it’s the opposite of freedom. If I can find 10,000 people that think that you should be punched in the face, is it somehow right? How about if I find 10 million?

    Once again, you’re supporting what you want at the direct expense of others, and you’re willing to use violence to achieve your ends. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It doesn’t matter how many people support you. Without exception, you want to take away other people’s freedom to meet your goals and you believe you have reached the acceptable level of violence and force to achieve those ends.

    In a free society, people would be free to feed others. In the US, people like you, no matter how many there are, want to use force to make some people feed others, and you believe the benefits outweigh the amount of violence you have to use. So yes, you oppose freedom. It is a lie to claim you like or want freedom, when you support the opposite.

    Your last question is irrelevant. It’s not a valid question any more than “Wen did you stop beating your wife?”

    • Adam says:

      “If I can find 10,000 people that think that you should be punched in the face, is it somehow right? … Your last question is irrelevant.”

      I’m not talking about opinion of an action so much as support for a policy. This is how our government works, right?

      I’m talking about a balance between freedom and government that we have always struggled with and debated as a country even before we ratified the Constitution. You want more freedom but you’re unwilling to address what you think the consequences will be to the public or what we would gain. You just keep saying more freedom is better to the point where the word freedom has no understandable meaning.

      “Without exception, you want to take away other people’s freedom to meet your goals and you believe you have reached the acceptable level of violence and force to achieve those ends.”

      By acceptable level of violence of course you mean almost none, right? How many bad cop stories can you post here to try and convince us that the dozens of cases a year of police brutality or stupidity represents the millions of encounters citizens have with the thousands of law enforcement officials and court systems each year?

  5. Ogre says:

    Look, I don’t dream I can change your mind. Your mind is set like frozen concrete. And I’ll admit — I’m also set — I like freedom.

    All I can hope to do is point out that what you want is not freedom. You’re not “giving up” a single thing — instead you’re taking from others with violence, period. It’s not about “bad cops” — you feel good when taxes are used to feed people. If someone doesn’t pay their taxes so you can feel good, the government will, without exception, use violence up to and including killing people who do not provide you with your money.

    If there’s millions of people who want to feed people, why don’t those millions of people get together and feed them? That would be freedom. Instead, you want to use force to make other people pay to feed them.

    Again, I don’t dream of changing your mind. I don’t even dream you’ll admit what you support is not freedom. All I can do is point out the system you prefer makes you feel good at the expense of others and in a violent manner.

    • Adam says:

      I’m not asking you to convince me one way or another. I’m simply asking you to clarify your ideas so I get a better sense of what you base them on. Is that so hard to do?