An expert opinion about governmentWritten by Kurt St. Angelo
An expert opinion about government by Kurt St. Angelo @2005 Libertarian Writers' Bureau
When we have a plumbing problem, we call a plumber. When we have a problem with our government, we call someone who studied government. Right?
I majored in government in college. I am an attorney and son of a former Indiana Democratic Party chairperson. I received highest grade in my public high school class of 1,250 students in a standardized government exam. I have government, politics and law running through my veins, but does anyone ever call me with their government problems? Heck no! Everybody’s an expert on government, some just more than others. Very few government experts, except some Libertarians, seem to know anything about our unalienable natural rights. These rights are referred to in Declaration of Independence (1776) and in both of Indiana’s constitutions (1816 and 1851). The former reads: “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness …”
Unalienable rights are natural choices – choices that Nature or our Creator gives us as our birthright, and that we cannot give up, waive or “lien” away. They are choices for which we would not naturally ask government’s permission, nor for which we can rightly be punished. The only moral and lawful limit to exercise of our natural rights is to refrain from violating same rights of others.
We don’t ask government’s permission to eat, breathe, drink, use toilet or sleep. Nor do we call our favorite bureaucrat to think, pray or recreate. We also have natural rights to possess property, to contract with one another and to defend ourselves – all without permission of government.
As well, we have right to exchange our talents for value, called right to work. This natural right does not mean that we have a right to a job or a certain wage. Those “rights” are actually government-bestowed privileges, called civil rights. All civil rights benefit one special-interest group at expense of natural rights or choices of others.
Natural unalienable rights are rights or choices that our ancestors exercised long before any governments (and their civil rights) were conceived. What made this country’s various governments different from all others before them was that they promised to protect these rights, free from will and tyranny of those more powerful. “(T)o secure these Rights,” says Declaration of Independence, “Governments are instituted among Men.”
Serfs had it betterWritten by Kurt St. Angelo
With our present taxation, you and I control less than 50 percent of what we earn, while a mere majority of our local, state and federal representatives – about 360 people – control more than 50 percent of our earnings.
We are quantifiably less than 50 percent economically free. Even serfs cut better economic deals with their masters. If our local, state and federal governments cut spending and lowered only your taxes, would that make you wealthier? Yes. Would it also make me wealthier? Yes, though not to same extent. When governments cut spending and lower only your taxes, this still benefits rest of us.
I learned this in high school when we studied The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, a book published in 1776. Smith correctly theorized that cumulative effect of individuals seeking their own self-interest works like an invisible hand to allocate economic resources, stimulate innovation and create national wealth.
This is opposite view held by proponents of controlled economies, who say that resources and wealth are best allocated centrally, by few, from top down. Such proponents believe that you can benefit most when government extracts more from me. Followers of Smith, including modern-day libertarians, believe that we all benefit when government extracts less from you or me, but preferably both.
The dismal history of controlled economies validates Smith’s theories and value of free markets. Nations where a relatively few people make decisions for others comprise most of world’s poorest nations. The former Soviet Union, Cuba, mainland China, Eastern Europe, Burma and North Korea are perfect examples.
Because of our nation’s accumulated wealth, relatively poor people here enjoy higher standards of living than relatively richer people in controlled economies. Our nation’s poor enjoy higher quality products, at lower prices, and more choices in everything from televisions to toothpaste than richest man in Romania. America’s poor breathe better air, drink better water, have better sanitation, and have more heat, food and health care available than most of billions of people in world – all because of our country’s relative wealth.
But here are two caveats about national wealth. First, all nations, including ours, become relatively poorer when their leaders make economic decisions for others. And second, declines in national wealth always hurt that nation’s poor first and worst. Economic policies that promote wealth ironically are most effective ways to help poor.