WEST: The Balkanized States of America – Washington Times

WEST: The Balkanized States of America – Washington Times.

Liberals are leading us down a path to division and ruin

By Rep. Allen B. West

The 56 rebels knew they very well might be hanged for what they were about to do. As lawyers, merchants, farmers and landowners, they had plenty to lose. Fighting against an imperial ruler, they had everything to gain.

They were embarking on an adventure – not only because they were revolting against their own government and fighting outmanned and outgunned against a superior military – but because they were creating a radical approach to self-governance.

The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, knew the only way they ever would be successful in their audacious plan was if they stood together. As Benjamin Franklin said at the signing, “if we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”

Our founders shared a unified vision for our nation. They understood that unity of the many was necessary to uphold the sovereignty of the individual and the fundamental, unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To ensure the sovereignty of each individual American, our Founding Fathers knew the country would have to be unified on certain principles and values: a limited constitutional government, a free market, a respect for “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and a strong national defense.

Sadly, we are in danger of squandering the precious gift those 56 rebels gave us 236 years ago.

We have become a nation of “special interests” – but what interest can be more special than preserving the greatness of the United States of America and the freedoms of all its citizens?

We have politicians who would rather divide us based on income, gender or race than unite us as Americans. They want citizens to believe that “all men were created equal” really means “all men are entitled to an equal share.” They want their fellow Americans to believe anyone else’s economic success always comes at their own expense.

Those same politicians build their careers and re-election on the promise to redress these differences and guarantee equality of achievement – an impossible task unless we are all reduced to mindless, identical drones.

It is a seductive and dangerous promise that ultimately will lead to the destruction of our nation. As Alexis de Tocqueville repeatedly observed, “The majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot continue to foment and cultivate the divisive rhetoric that threatens to rend the very fabric of our nation. We will not survive with leaders who parade before a cacophony of groups, submitting to their whims in return for their electoral support.

The freedom for individuals to live however they choose is fundamental to our nation. But the balkanization by gender, race, sexual orientation or income in these United States will lead us on a path to ruin.

America must have leadership that reflects her foundational principles. We need leaders who do not seek to divide, but rather unite all under the fundamental principles for which our founders so courageously fought, and for which the men and women of our military continue to fight to this very day.

In 1955, social philosopher Will Herberg described the “American Way of Life” as “individualistic, dynamic, pragmatic. It affirms the supreme value and dignity of the individual; it stresses incessant activity on his part, for he is never to rest but is always to be striving to ‘get ahead’; it defines an ethic of self-reliance, merit and character, and judges by achievement: ‘deeds, not creeds’ are what count. The American Way of Life is humanitarian, ‘forward looking,’ optimistic.”

Herberg’s description was as fitting in 1955 as it was when our founders inscribed their names on the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Will it be accurate beyond 2012? I hope so, for America cannot continue to exist unless we all live as Americans in “the American way.”

Rep. Allen B. West is a Florida Republican.


It’s Not Complicated – Tea Party Nation



Image by tdietmut via Flickr

It’s Not Complicated – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Tim Nerenz

Freedom is difficult, but it is not complicated. Either you wish to make your own choices in life (freedom) or you wish to let others make them for you (government).

Ron Paul likes to say “freedom is popular” and he is right, when it comes to our own freedom; none of us wants someone else to spend our money and tell us what to do. That’s not complicated. It is when we think about extending that same courtesy to those who spend their money in ways we find offensive (buy drugs, for example) and do things that we do not approve of (take them), that is gets difficult.

Ever since Rick Santorum surged to a virtual tie in the Iowa Caucuses, the national debate has turned back, at least temporarily, to social issues and the central question of what role government should play in promoting morality and values. Most Republicans think the government should take an active role in promoting civic morality; most Democrats think government is civic morality. Most libertarians think this is why mute buttons were put on remotes; we’ll check back in when they get back around to war and economic collapse.

I hate sin as much as any of my social conservative friends do; the difference between us is our willingness to imprison those who hate it a little less.

Violent crimes are committed by violent criminals, and we need laws and prisons and courts and private arms in order to defend ourselves and property from predators. Force and fraud are the libertarian lines in the sand where freedom ends and crime begins. Most of us are actually “tougher” on real crime than the average Republican. Freedom and consequence are reciprocal; we don’t like either to be metered out in small doses.

But victimless crimes are something else altogether. The buyer and seller of contraband – whether it is raw milk, below minimum wage labor, drugs, sex, a wager, scalpers’ tickets, usury loans, alternative medicine, unlicensed haircuts, RYO cigarettes, or Gibson guitars – have forced or defrauded no one.

As a principled matter, it is none of my business how you choose to live your life, and from a practical perspective, I don’t want to pay the costs of enforcing futility. If eternal damnation isn’t already enough of a deterrent, adding 260 hours of community service is not going to make anybody sit up straight and fly right. Immorality has survived 7,000 years of moralists; this won’t be the year we snuff it out by electing one guy or another guy. And just like anything else, the quality of morality suffers when the government takes it over.

The issue isn’t really morality, anyway; it’s the role of law. Conservatives think the law should punish what we don’t approve, libertarians think the law should make us tolerate what we don’t approve, and liberals think the law should make us pay for what we don’t approve. To the Progressives – in both Parties – civic morality is achieved when a few of us pay to impose their beliefs on all of us.

Over the years, I have come to realize that immorality is its own worst punishment; most people I know who have chosen vice as a lifestyle live in misery and squalor. I love them, of course, but have zero sympathy for them; the picture was on the brochure when they made their reservation. Laws are just words; they won’t fix anyone who is broken. And our obligation to be our brother’s keeper takes a lot more than paying taxes.

Last year, our units of government passed 40,000 new laws. The mind boggles.

No one even knows for sure how many laws there are in the United States – hundreds of thousands certainly, millions perhaps. It is absolutely impossible to be a law-abiding citizen in this country; none of us knows all the laws and we have all most certainly broken several last year…or yesterday, for all I know. I used to break lots of them on purpose when I was young and fun; no challenge now.

Have all these laws made us a better society? Are we more righteous, just, compassionate, prosperous, healthy, and happy because of them? Do we treat each other better now that we have made it a crime to offend? Do we hate less because we made hate illegal? Sure doesn’t look like it on the nightly news.

The miracle that was 19th century America was described by Alexis de Tocqueville in his epic “Democracy in America”. He correctly identified the parallel importance of liberty and religiosity in a free society:

“In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.”

That ascending America that so fascinated de Tocqueville had a limited and distributed government that consumed less than 10% of GDP at all levels combined. That is a fraction of the footprint that is advocated by either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, our two most prominent libertarian politicians. That is how far off the rails we have veered over the past century – even our crazy libertarians aren’t radical enough.

It was that Constitutional America, where government was limited and morality was privatized, that inspired the industrial revolution, abolished slavery, institutionalized philanthropy, developed a middle class, achieved universal literacy, eradicated disease and improved life spans at a rate not seen before or since. In the latter half of the 19th century, a flood of immigrants voted with their feet for free market capitalism. Freedom is indeed popular – always has been.

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s argument that freedom breeds immorality ignores the history of America when it was most free. We are now at our least free, and at our most immoral, by any measure of social pathology. We have proven for decades on end that government can deliver neither prosperity nor salvation – no matter who runs it.

We don’t need 40,000 more laws each year to live free. The Constitution is just a skinny pamphlet; the Ten Commandments fit on a recipe card. Even a society of atheists would live peaceably together if they did not lie, covet, steal, kill, disrespect parents, commit adultery, or attempt to play God.

Some people think we should take those Ten Commandments down from our government buildings. Not me. I think we ought to take down the government buildings.

“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.