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Vernon Burns: Grow Government, Lose Freedom

Vernon Burnes

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Government, Government, and more Government; federal, state, or local no matter its level or location when government grows “We the people” lose freedom.
 
With every increase in the scope and power of government we give up more of the freedoms that made our nation the most blessed in the history of mankind. The founders and early leaders knew, our freedoms did not come from government, they came from our creator. This need for the freedom to live and pursue happiness, as an individual, is as natural to mankind as is the need for food and water. Knowing the nature of man the founders accepted limited government as the means to control ourselves. The key word here is limited since our leaders, of that time, had lived under or nearer to the unlimited power of kings.
 
What limits did these farsighted leaders see to government? What were the simple boundaries? President Thomas Jefferson gave us his view in what is one of his most powerful statements, one short paragraph in his first inaugural address March 4, 1801.
 
“Still one thing more, fellow citizens a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…”
 
Is this not only wonderful but inspired? The only guide I will offer, for the very few if any who do not understand, is the “labor” Jefferson refers to is the mental or physical effort required of all people, to provide for their own existence. The term “labor” here has absolutely nothing to do with a socialist modern labor union.
 
As governments grow, all forms of governments, so also it’s natural corruption. The power “We the People” grant to those we elect to represent us in government can be the most powerful drug ever devised by man.
 
This is not to say all we elect are corrupt. Indeed most people we elect have the best intentions. But in time most are swept along in a system that has long ago abandoned what Thomas Jefferson called “The sum of good government.”
 
Most of our representatives, at all levels, will promise us anything to be elected or re-elected. Politicians think, consciously or unconsciously, damn the consequences I need this election and office because I am so very important to all the people. They need me and this is the way business is done.
 
In office, city, county, state, and federal, the rule is hand out favors to groups with the most votes and if these favors have a price, and all do, use your power to impose the cost on the smallest percentage of your voters possible. If you still have a problem paying for the votes you need to win and hold your office then pay for the promises with credit. Politicians borrow and spend. It’s not their money, they need to win an election more than we need a future.
 
The marriage of politicians and corruption is as old as political systems themselves. Look back at the Roman Senate and other governments through the ages. None are perfect, it’s not in the nature of man. We have many great people in our government now, fighting the good fight, and I think they would agree that all forms of government are to big and try to do to much. These are the statesmen and women we need, not the pandering politicians with a super size government.
 
This has all been said by many before me and by those much wiser for sure. I will leave you with a quote from President Andrew Jackson, a founder of the Democratic Party, given on July 10, 1832.
 
“There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.”

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