Essay Non-Fiction posted February 15, 2012


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America: The Nanny State

by Spiritual Echo

My support for the Libertarian Party is not based on a party platform, a list of ideologies, but rather the absence of stringent rules.

Unlike Democrats, who seek to control economic activities, or the Republicans who want control of social consumption with their moralizing views on sexual behaviour, the Libertarians believe those issues to be personal. They believe government should have limited or no regulations in personal freedoms.

Their basic belief is that the role of government is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes and provide the legal framework to encourage voluntary trade.

Libertarians believe in strong civil liberties. We believe in having sovereignty over our own lives without sacrificing the values of others.

Pierre Trudeau, a Canadian Prime Minister once stated, "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation."

That is an International truth.

Libertarians do not believe in defining, legislating or moralizing about sexual practices that cause no hardship or pain to other members of society.

We challenge an omnipotent state and actively seek to limit state functions. Libertarians oppose intervention in foreign policy and believe the freedom of trade should not be regulated. To that point we have petitioned for the abolition of the minimum wage. Our current structure encourages a welfare state, separating the educated from the willing workers who can not compete with the advantaged. By removing minimum wage requirements we immediately make labor competitive and diminish off-shore manufacturing's appeal to corporations.

Even Obama, during his State of the Union address, spoke about incentives to bring manufacturing back to America. The erosion of jobs in the US has a long term negative effect on all our lives. The band-aid offered during that speech was financial grants and subsidies to companies who would embrace this initiative, but who is paying for this promise? Tax money does not belong to the government. It is our money, our taxes being used to buy back jobs. It is American corporations that shipped employment opportunities overseas, enriching third world countries and ensuring the prosperity of their citizens. All the while our citizens wrestle with poverty. Would it not be better to allow our own citizens to compete?

We are a country of immigrants. Our grandparents did not have a guide book as to what countries and governments offered the biggest incentive to immigrate to their shores. They built America without social safety nets and government handouts. Through sweat equity they built lives in America, raised children and developed dignity for their accomplishments. We have robbed an entire generation of pride. Today, there are new multi-generation households whose family business is welfare.

Republicans pound their Bibles and preach family values. Our ancestors believed in families. They didn't need to be reminded to use the strengths and determination of each member to light a fire that would become 'The American Dream.' The elderly would tend to children while the parents took work, any work to make sure there was food on the table and a roof over their heads. Once old enough, children would have paper-routes, make deliveries on their bicycles for the corner store or collect empty bottles. They didn't buy I-pods with their wages. That money was part of the family income.

There are no jobs for children today; no opportunities to learn a work ethic or participate in a family as a contributing part of society. Our hope for our kids is that they will get a good education, graduate from college and find a career. As we encourage these young people to fulfill their potential we are blind to the actual faltering economy. How many engineers will we need to build bridges when the entire infrastructure of America is decaying? Our roads are deteriorating, overpasses crumbling, yet we are producing a population of Liberal Arts philosophers. We don't pay homage to the men and woman who keep the mechanics of our lives running. I have yet to hear a parent comment that he hoped his son or daughter might grow up and become an electrician or a plumber and, yet that is exactly what this country needs.

We must examine our true legacy as parents. It is easy to fall in love with environmental causes, to do our part in preserving the gifts of the world, but our personal commitment to our children's future also lies in teaching honor in a day's work and to create the means for them to achieve self-respect in their work.

We can't have it both ways. We can't expect our heirs to succeed if we put a price tag on the flex of a muscle. Are we teaching them that there is a bottom line minimum to be extracted from an employer before our children get off their asses and respect self sufficiency?

While we dream large for the kids, which one of us hasn't made a side deal with a contractor for a set price, foregoing Home Depot's mark-up, for a bottom line cash deal? Do we stop and pause and wonder if the worker is making a fair wage? Ah, but that's what unions are for, aren't they? They protect the worker's rights through collective bargaining ensuring that corporations will examine off-shore production as a viable alternative to receding profits. The car manufacturers' continue making cars in America primarily because of exorbitant shipping costs, but the parts are imported. When Japan experienced an earthquake and the subsequent nuclear disaster, owners of Honda and Nissan cars had service interruptions and a mad scramble by dealers for substitute parts.

Let's blame Corporate America. Why not? They're a handy target. And, there's no doubt that ridiculous profits were funnelled through to a selected few in our society, but don't you think the guy on the assembly line that makes fifty dollars an hour to do repetitive, monotonous work may share in the responsibility? Or is it simply that we have collectively demanded more for ourselves and been blinded by a system where our self-interest supersedes the good of society at large?

The Occupy Movement is clearly an awakening. Individually if you asked a group of protestors what their demands were, you could move from group to group and find many different answers, all of which would reflect the individual's personal concern. People don't protest unless the cause affects them personally.

The banking system in America allowed sub prime mortgages, lending monies in veiled marketing ploys to seduce innocent people, people who simply did not calculate their future interest rates. They lived so close to the edge that there was no contingency plan, no safety net that would allow them to survive the dive of the housing market or economic downturn.

If an individual decides to borrow money from a loan shark, he knows the interest rate is astronomical and should he fail to make timely payments he risks broken knee caps. Our government enabled the banks to prosper by using legal practices and it begs one to wonder whether we are hiding behind Washington's apron, refusing to use our own common sense and self determination to evaluate the costs. Perhaps now America has reason to pray; we are already on our knees.

Shall we blame government for not regulating lending policies? Or can we, in spite of personal loss, ante up and take ownership of our gullible and greedy desires to own and have what we can't afford?

Without minimum wage, without import/export tariffs and regulations, the economy would sink or rise to its own ability to sustain this country.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "No! You do not make the poor rich by making the rich poor."

It is time to take back the reins, take control of our destiny.

In the Self Determination section of the Declaration of Independence a quote appears that we should pause and consider, not just how it affects us today, but the intent of our forefathers to include it in a document penned to protect all Americans.

"Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty."

To try to resolve the issues of the day, in these harsh economic and social times, our government's solution is to enact more laws, invoke more regulations to heal our problems. These measures will require more money and more bureaucrats to enforce and supervise their implementation. Perhaps, the answer is less, not more government.

Although founded in the early seventies and earning ballot status in all fifty states, some people who are reading this may never have heard of the Libertarian Party. The party began to take root based, in part on two issues of the time; the amendment of the gold standard and Viet Nam as it affected the draft.

The US dollar remains the benchmark for exchange rates of all currencies. This became a plausible way of measuring wealth as every American dollar was supported by equal value of gold reserves. At the time gold was valued at approximately $35 per ounce. In the early seventies the rules began to change and currencies no longer needed to be supported entirely by gold reserves. Countries that decided to opt out of the previous gold standard agreement were virtually given the licence to print money and they did, buying themselves out of an assortment of economic pitfalls. While the amount of gold it would require to store would be beyond comprehension based on the current distribution of paper money, there is currently no real way of auditing a county's worth without a standard that could support the claims. The Libertarian Party was deeply concerned about an economy that had no bones and continues to raise questions.

"In God we trust. All others pay cash." This quote has serious repercussions in the twenty first century. America does not have gold reserves to back up all the currency that has been printed.

Libertarians took interest in the manner by which young men avoided the military service. Prior to the abandoning the draft there was an entire industry that emerged during the Viet Nam era. Lawyers and draft counselling services were all available on campuses, including Harvard, with a sole purpose to find exemptions for students affluent enough to afford the fees. Students of divinity and the rabbinate were exempt and enrolment in these programs spiked. When the absolution of the draft became probable, Washington reassigned the status based on married men with children being the lowest on the list and then married men. There was a sharp increase in marriages all entered to avoid the draft. There was even a name, "The Kennedy Husbands" assigned to this group of objectors. Within this period authority was questioned, laws flaunted, albeit legally and Libertarianism grew wings.

Libertarians support the legalization of drugs, prostitution and gambling. While moralists shake their fists at such a concept, think who benefits from these non-tax-identifiable industries. Without laws that barely tap offenders on the knuckles, the underground economy, the criminals and gangs would no longer control the billions of dollars being spent on these vices. Rational people would not suggest these services be offered like 'vending machine' refreshments, but the decriminalization of these activities and services would deflate the criminal elements that build empires and thumb their nose at American laws. We rarely hear about drug and sex scandals emerging from Holland, yet both prostitution and cannabis use is legal.

The Republican and Democratic parties monopolize the political arena. While varying slightly on key issues their goals are essentially the same. It is the execution, the presentation that stokes the passion of the public. Many young people are routinely registered for the political party their family historically supports and never give a second thought to their affiliation.

It was the Viet Nam war that ignited protest and created political activists in our youth. And once again, the cause of the sudden interest was highly personal. One could argue that the kids from the sixties and seventies were forcing a change for the good of all, but in stark reality, they simply did not believe in war and didn't want to enlist. It was a very personal agenda.

Watching the candidates strut and debate in this election year is like watching the Osmond's old TV show; I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll. Our politicians are groomed, coached and posture for the cameras, hoping to attract support through designer suits or knitted vests. They seek our confidence, ask us to identify with them through their costumes and scripted speeches. The ultimate gold ticket, the presidency, is the goal. The altruism is saved for the third year, the days of judgement, marking the return to campaigning, when the electoral machine gets revved up again.

My support of the Libertarian Party also follows a personal agenda. I am sick of being licensed, regulated and taxed to support issues that are meaningless to me and intrusive to my value system that essentially promotes a laissez-faire philosophy; live and let live.

I don't much give a damn whether my homosexual neighbors are smoking pot or worshipping a golden statue, and it's about time government got out of our personal business as well.





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