One of the main reasons America happened in the first place was that an awful lot of people were sick to death of Europe. It wasn’t the geography or the cuisine or the language or the culture they were sick of. It was the governments.
In Europe, every time you turned around you had to ask some duke or baron for permission to breathe. They had guilds that dictated who could practice what particular trades. They had lords that controlled most or all of the land and a large percentage of the work you did had to go to support that lord. That’s why they called America the “land of the free”- it wasn’t because in America you had freedom to publish pornography or abort babies. It was because in America you could buy a plot of land and could do what you wanted on that plot of land. You didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to grow crops and sell them, or build whatever kind of house you wanted. As long as you weren’t hurting your neighbor, you were free to do with your property what you wanted.
Now, I have to pay a town inspector to come by for permission to shingle my own roof. My brother-in-law runs a business, a furniture store, and he tells me that he’s constantly having to pay fees to have bureaucrats come out to inspect something or other. Some guy comes out, glances at something, says it’s fine, and demands an $80 fee. Every one of these laws can be justified with some kind of benefit- well the state makes sure my roof is properly shingled so that the wind doesn’t destroy it. Limon now requires that we use more expensive 30-year shingles despite the fact that every decade or so we have an incredibly fierce hailstorm that destroys everyone’s roofs, 30-year shingles or not, which then are all replaced by insurance. Every new law that’s passed, every new regulation, every new inspector, can be justified by something. New professions get licensing requirements, to protect the public from the dangers of unscrupulous businessmen. And in exchange for all these possible (but questionable) benefits, we get saddled with the very real costs of a million parasitic bureaucrats sucking the life out of the private sector.
As I said in the last article, the tyrants of the world always claim to be helping the little guy. They always claim to be protecting us from the evil men who will destroy them if we don’t turn our freedom and wealth over to the tyrants. Andrea posted this on her FB page recently:
I just talked with my mom. My dad had a bad weekend because he has to
tell the mothers and fathers who work for a Black Hills Power plant that
the EPA has made it impossible for their power plant to stay open. He
has to tell them that they no longer have the good jobs that have so
well provided for their families. I’m
sure it will be a great consolation to them to know that Father Obama
will hold their place in line at the welfare agencies. And to all my
friends who will see higher energy costs as well-running power plants
shut down to be replaced by uber-expensive new plants, I’m sure Obama
will provide you welfare, too, to keep your home heated this winter and
food stamps to subsidize the higher cost for food production. It is a
lie by the left that the managers don’t care about the people who work
for them. My father started out at power plants as a mechanic and
worked his way up to upper management. He was successful at management
BECAUSE he cares about the people who work for him. All of my dad’s
children grew up with the experience of being stopped by strangers who
would express their admiration and care for our father, their boss. It
is really, really hard for my dad to give this awful news. It is the
bureaucrat, with no personal involvement with people, who are cold and
uncaring about the destruction their petty power plays and rules cause
for others. Perhaps if the EPA officials destroying the power industry
had to face those whose livelihood they are destroying by their blind
devotion to bad environmental superstition, they would examine the
actual facts behind the power industry and move a little slower to
destroy the good jobs providing the abundant, clean power Americans have
enjoyed and that has fueled our prosperity for so long.
This is just another example. Are there tradeoffs for burning coal? Of course there are. It would be better if we all had magic unicorn power beamed directly from the sky castle into our homes (except I’m sure there would be a unicorn tax associated). But there are tradeoffs with everything, because this is a cursed and fallen world. When someone comes with an offer that’s too good to be true, it probably is. When a government bureaucrat comes and promises you free money, that money is coming from somewhere. When a government bureaucrat promises to protect you from the possible danger of your neighbor opening a slaughterhouse next door, by setting up complicated zoning requirements and building codes, the tradeoff is not potential or possible, it is very real. It is the tradeoff of everybody’s property being worth less than it would be otherwise because they have lost a substantial amount of freedom to do with their own property what they see fit.
Our little church building in Limon is very old. We are growing and the building is not meeting our needs all that well any more. We would like to do some work on it, possibly expanding it. To do so, we have to meet a complex set of building code requirements like putting in curb and gutter, bringing our bathrooms, plumbing and power up to code, even meeting aesthetic guidelines set by our town’s building code. Yes, every one of these requirements has a benefit- better handicap access, better safety, better access to the property and the like. But every one of these requirements also has a cost. That cost is money and time. Money to pay for it and time to understand all the codes and get it done. Every one of those requirements results in an increased likelihood that we will simply do nothing and keep making do with our old building.
I hear this story frequently from my other pastor friends. Their buildings are old, outdated, no longer suitable. But doing anything about it requires complying with a huge list of codes, depending on where they’re located. Most of these churches have limited resources. So they just make do as best they can.
And there is another cost associated with all these bureaucrats, and that other cost is all these bureaucrats. They are, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, “eating up our substance.” Every one of them has to be paid. So they impose a cost by restricting freedom, and they impose a cost again in requiring taxes and fees to pay their salaries. These bureaucrats then constantly lobby for the importance and necessity of their departments, constantly working to increase their own budgets and workforces. And this is what they do with those ever-increasing budgets.
Many conservative thinkers point out that when you give someone welfare, or a corn subsidy, or a guaranteed loan for college or for new technology, or whatever else, that money has to come from somewhere. True enough, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough. If I give someone a dollar in a welfare payment, that dollar has to come from someone else, and it comes at the point of a gun shoved in that other person’s face. They may call it “contributions” or whatever else, but the fact is, if I don’t pay my taxes I go to jail. So the dollar in welfare payments or corporate subsidies require a dollar taken from someone else. But that doesn’t even properly understand the problem. If I am to pay the welfare recipient a dollar, I have to take two dollars from someone else- one dollar for the money to pay the welfare recipient, and one dollar to pay the bureaucrat who manages the program, the IRS agent who collects the money, and all of the other government infrastructure to manage the thing. These bureaucrats constantly angle to increase their power and position. This is why it is so hard to ever cut government, because the government itself is trying with all its might to increase its own power and influence. Every dollar that the government spends is a little bit more of this economy they control. That’s why even the most inefficient, wasteful, redundant, foolish programs are so hard to cut. It has nothing to do with how effective those programs are and everything to do with how much of the economy they control. They want it all. They think that the problem right now with the country is that the public sector isn’t big enough.
“The private sector is doing fine.” “You didn’t build that.” “Repeat the success of the auto bailout with every industry”- the auto bailout that cost the taxpayers billions, stiffed the bondholders and the non-union workers in favor of unions, and resulted in major government ownership of of two of the nation’s biggest companies. When are we going to start taking these people at their words? They do not believe that we peasants can run our own lives without the help of a million dukes and barons and counts giving us permission to breathe every time we turn around and telling us how to do it. How did this happen? How did this nation that was born out of a desire for freedom from all these petty tyrants once again become enslaved to petty tyrants?
Men cannot save us from the sorrows of this life. Only God can save us, and He has done so through His Son Jesus Christ. Any man that comes along pretending he can protect you from every risk is just trying to enslave you and eat up your substance. Trust God. Don’t trust man. Stop letting these petty tyrants terrify you into letting them eat up your substance with a million bogus promises to save you from all the evils in the world. Take responsibility for your own life and encourage others to do the same.