Article V

Government should Defend our Flank and Let Us Make Things Happen

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Government should Defend our Flank and Let Us Make Things Happen

When my thoughts first turned to this arti­cle, I imag­ined tak­ing a case-​by-​case, issue-​by-​issue approach to demon­strate that government’s role when seen through a Con­sti­tu­tional lens is to empower us rather than to limit us. This was going to high­light through an evi­den­tiary process how this nation can sur­vive and thrive when gov­ern­ment gets out of the way and allows the Amer­i­can peo­ple to do what we’ve always done: make things happen.

While com­pil­ing the ample evi­dence to present my case, some­thing changed. My mind­set shifted from that of a court­room attor­ney to that of a physi­cian seek­ing to diag­nose the root cause. This par­tic­u­lar study was so easy with evi­dence so bla­tant that I started to won­der how in the world we came to this state of being in the first place. Why has gov­ern­ment turned into the nurse­maid that wakes peo­ple up to give them their sleep­ing pills? When did the peo­ple start allow­ing the gov­ern­ment to tell us what we’re allowed to do instead of giv­ing us guid­ance through laws that tell us what we shouldn’t do? That’s when it dawned on me that I was ask­ing the wrong ques­tions and, per­haps, fight­ing the wrong battle.

Could it be that the cur­rent man­i­fes­ta­tions of gov­ern­ment are the result of a peo­ple that gen­er­ally doesn’t want to do or think for our­selves? Did we cre­ate the nanny state because enough of the pop­u­la­tion demanded more nan­nies? As you read this, you’re prob­a­bly think­ing to your­self that the answers are obvi­ous, that lib­er­al­ism has enabled lazi­ness while enabling enti­tle­ments to over­run the halls of gov­er­nance. Were we fed enough lies that we became the prob­lem that we wanted to solve in the first place?

As I looked deeper into every­thing, I real­ized that it’s not a one-​sided issue. Even con­ser­v­a­tives have embraced the nanny state men­tal­ity in many instances. They jus­tify it bet­ter; I look at Marco Rubio as an exam­ple. I liked Rubio even though he wasn’t my first choice for the GOP nom­i­na­tion. One of the things that I didn’t like was his appease­ment of the Big Sugar lobby. They’ve sup­ported him since his early days in pol­i­tics when he was barely known in Florida, let alone to the nation. Since then, he has been one of their biggest pro­tec­tors, shield­ing them from the “evils” of free trade by sub­si­diz­ing them in ways that pre­vent for­eign com­pe­ti­tion with cheaper and bet­ter sugar from muscling into our free mar­ket econ­omy. Is he still a con­ser­v­a­tive? Mostly, yes. Is he still part of the prob­lem? Absolutely.

Amer­ica was built on inno­va­tion and cre­ation on the backs of hard work­ing indus­tri­al­ists striv­ing to con­tin­u­ously improve. How­ever, there were those who took advan­tage of their power to pre­vent oth­ers from chal­leng­ing. This is where the need for over­sight and pro­tec­tions became rel­e­vant and even nec­es­sary. From the late 19th– to early 20th-​century, income inequal­ity and the power of the “one per­cent” was so ram­pant that it would trig­ger any mod­ern day del­i­cate snowflake into hyper­ven­ti­la­tion. The peo­ple demanded pro­tec­tions. They demanded that the gov­ern­ment reach in and do some­thing about it. The gov­ern­ment obliged and fought the “rob­ber barons” and “evil indus­tri­al­ists” to make sure that con­di­tions and oppor­tu­nity were in place for a wider mul­ti­tude. This was a good thing.

It turned into a bad thing. Safe­guards turned into reg­u­la­tions. Over­sight turned into audits which turned into direct med­dling which turned into the “nec­es­sary” bailouts of today. Then, the rich fought back as they’re wont to do. They put more money into influ­en­tial activists who even­tu­ally became lob­by­ists. When they couldn’t coax the pol­i­tics in their direc­tion, they bought more politi­cians. The strug­gle for money and power took on a life of its own in dark alleys or behind closed doors. Today, influ­ence is still being pur­chased, but it’s hap­pen­ing in broad day­light. Big Sugar didn’t have to use a proxy to meet with a trusted secret ally of Rubio’s at mid­night in an empty park­ing garage. They filed the proper paper­work, con­tributed the right amount of money to the right peo­ple, and “earned” their sub­si­dies through Rubio’s rise.

Here’s the prob­lem. When­ever top­ics such as these are brought up, it’s usu­ally on a con­spir­acy the­ory forum or on an anarchist’s blog. It doesn’t have to be. This is a topic wor­thy of main­stream atten­tion, but it’s given next to none. Why? Because to get a full under­stand­ing of how it works and why, one must first acknowl­edge that the sys­tem can be fixed. Unfor­tu­nately, the sys­tem is so inter­wo­ven and tightly knit­ted into every other sys­tem (includ­ing the 4th and 5th estates) that it’s sim­ply accepted. Those who under­stand it feel that it’s cor­rupt but couldn’t imag­ine a way to take it apart. The major­ity who don’t under­stand can curse about cor­rup­tion and talk about how dirty our politi­cians really are, but they have no other way to act other than to vent.

If the sys­tem of over­reach­ing gov­ern­ment, obtuse reg­u­la­tions, out-​of-​control enti­tle­ments, and upside-​down tax and spend poli­cies could be unrav­eled, we could build some­thing that has never been built before: a true cap­i­tal­is­tic repub­lic that was dri­ven by inno­va­tion and an empow­ered cit­i­zenry. Ear­lier, I wrote that inno­va­tion and cre­ation built this nation, but mend­ing it today and reclaim­ing our excep­tion­al­ism is not pos­si­ble with the cur­rent state of affairs. This is extremely depress­ing because the advance­ments of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and infra­struc­ture that we enjoy today would yield the prime envi­ron­ment for life, lib­erty, and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness if we could just get gov­ern­ment to allow it. We tasted this pros­per­ity through most of the 20th cen­tury, but we got lazy. We got com­fort­able. We took our eye off the ball and failed to rec­og­nize that big gov­ern­ment, once thought nec­es­sary to pro­tect us, has become our great­est obstacle.

Imag­ine a gov­ern­ment that pro­tected everyone’s oppor­tu­nity rather than everyone’s well-​being. Instead of a nanny state, imag­ine a state that focused on help­ing peo­ple find and achieve per­sonal goals. Instead of being pro­tected, they could be empow­ered. Would some peo­ple fail? Yes. Would they require help? Yes. Should the gov­ern­ment be the one who helps them? In most cases, no. Even the sta­tus of our wel­fare state could be pri­va­tized. The indus­try of car­ing for oth­ers in need has been left to the gov­ern­ment and it con­tin­ues to grow. While the gov­ern­ment can pro­vide the final safety net to pre­vent peo­ple from hit­ting the bot­tom, every safety net above could be bet­ter main­tained in the pri­vate sec­tor. We can see this very clearly evi­dent in the most lib­eral cities in the coun­try. The more the gov­ern­ment “cares” for the peo­ple, the worse off those peo­ple tend to be.

Imag­ine a gov­ern­ment that only reg­u­lated what absolutely needed to be reg­u­lated for the safety of cit­i­zens rather than the pro­tec­tion of spe­cial inter­ests, a gov­ern­ment that reduced taxes and fees on busi­nesses to the point that they could be com­pet­i­tive on any mar­ket, whether local, national, or global. Instead of Big Sugar spend­ing money lob­by­ing and con­tribut­ing to cam­paigns, what if they put all of their efforts (not to men­tion the money they didn’t have to pay to lob­by­ists and polit­i­cal cam­paigns) into inno­va­tion. Instead of rely­ing on sub­si­dies and tar­iffs, they would be forced to rely on their capa­bil­i­ties. Instead of fig­ur­ing out how to keep the for­eign com­pa­nies down, what if they fig­ured out how to make bet­ter sugar at a cheaper cost?

Whether it’s peo­ple or busi­nesses, when the gov­ern­ment takes away our abil­ity to fail, they reduce our oppor­tu­nity to succeed.

These are all top­ics that would require much more flesh­ing out than what I can put in a sin­gle blog post, but it’s impor­tant to under­stand one thing: none of this can be fixed with­out two major changes. The first major change is the two-​party polit­i­cal sys­tem. Con­ser­v­a­tives have no home for them­selves. We rent a room in over the garage in the GOP’s house because it’s less lib­eral in gen­eral than the Democ­rats. Sadly, we are see­ing a post-​conservative Repub­li­can Party that still lays claim to the man­tle of Rea­gan, Coolidge, and Lin­coln with­out actu­ally tak­ing advan­tage of the mantle’s con­ser­v­a­tive philoso­phies. We need a new party.

The sec­ond major change is that we need an Arti­cle V Con­ven­tion of States. It’s a good thing that there hasn’t been one in the past. Frankly, it wasn’t needed and would not have worked prop­erly. Today, it’s des­per­ately needed. Many fear a Con­ven­tion of States because there’s a poten­tial for dis­as­ter if it isn’t han­dled prop­erly. The only way that it could work is if the vision of peo­ple like Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, and Mark Levin could be real­ized. We need amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion that rein in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. We don’t need to add more restric­tions to the peo­ple. We need to pre­vent Wash­ing­ton DC from con­tin­u­ing down the road it’s on.

This is a lot to take in and we’re just scratch­ing the sur­face. In this strange Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, most eyes are on one can­di­date who will destroy us and another can­di­date who will trans­form us. Regard­less of who wins, we know that gov­ern­ment is going to con­tinue to grow. It’s up to con­ser­v­a­tives, TRUE con­ser­v­a­tives, to stand athwart his­tory yelling, “stop!” Oth­er­wise, these issues big and small that we’re fac­ing in the elec­tion will become irrel­e­vant as the nation crum­bles under the weight of a gov­ern­ment that’s sup­posed to be cov­er­ing our flank.

When my thoughts first turned to this article, I imagined taking a case-by-case, issue-by-issue approach to demonstrate that government’s role when seen through a Constitutional lens is to empower us rather than to limit us. This was going to highlight through an evidentiary process how this nation can survive and thrive when government gets out of the way and allows the American people to do what we’ve always done: make things happen.

While compiling the ample evidence to present my case, something changed. My mindset shifted from that of a courtroom attorney to that of a physician seeking to diagnose the root cause. This particular study was so easy with evidence so blatant that I started to wonder how in the world we came to this state of being in the first place. Why has government turned into the nursemaid that wakes people up to give them their sleeping pills? When did the people start allowing the government to tell us what we’re allowed to do instead of giving us guidance through laws that tell us what we shouldn’t do? That’s when it dawned on me that I was asking the wrong questions and, perhaps, fighting the wrong battle.

Could it be that the current manifestations of government are the result of a people that generally doesn’t want to do or think for ourselves? Did we create the nanny state because enough of the population demanded more nannies? As you read this, you’re probably thinking to yourself that the answers are obvious, that liberalism has enabled laziness while enabling entitlements to overrun the halls of governance. Were we fed enough lies that we became the problem that we wanted to solve in the first place?

As I looked deeper into everything, I realized that it’s not a one-sided issue. Even conservatives have embraced the nanny state mentality in many instances. They justify it better; I look at Marco Rubio as an example. I liked Rubio even though he wasn’t my first choice for the GOP nomination. One of the things that I didn’t like was his appeasement of the Big Sugar lobby. They’ve supported him since his early days in politics when he was barely known in Florida, let alone to the nation. Since then, he has been one of their biggest protectors, shielding them from the “evils” of free trade by subsidizing them in ways that prevent foreign competition with cheaper and better sugar from muscling into our free market economy. Is he still a conservative? Mostly, yes. Is he still part of the problem? Absolutely.

America was built on innovation and creation on the backs of hard working industrialists striving to continuously improve. However, there were those who took advantage of their power to prevent others from challenging. This is where the need for oversight and protections became relevant and even necessary. From the late 19th- to early 20th-century, income inequality and the power of the “one percent” was so rampant that it would trigger any modern day delicate snowflake into hyperventilation. The people demanded protections. They demanded that the government reach in and do something about it. The government obliged and fought the “robber barons” and “evil industrialists” to make sure that conditions and opportunity were in place for a wider multitude. This was a good thing.

It turned into a bad thing. Safeguards turned into regulations. Oversight turned into audits which turned into direct meddling which turned into the “necessary” bailouts of today. Then, the rich fought back as they’re wont to do. They put more money into influential activists who eventually became lobbyists. When they couldn’t coax the politics in their direction, they bought more politicians. The struggle for money and power took on a life of its own in dark alleys or behind closed doors. Today, influence is still being purchased, but it’s happening in broad daylight. Big Sugar didn’t have to use a proxy to meet with a trusted secret ally of Rubio’s at midnight in an empty parking garage. They filed the proper paperwork, contributed the right amount of money to the right people, and “earned” their subsidies through Rubio’s rise.

Here’s the problem. Whenever topics such as these are brought up, it’s usually on a conspiracy theory forum or on an anarchist’s blog. It doesn’t have to be. This is a topic worthy of mainstream attention, but it’s given next to none. Why? Because to get a full understanding of how it works and why, one must first acknowledge that the system can be fixed. Unfortunately, the system is so interwoven and tightly knitted into every other system (including the 4th and 5th estates) that it’s simply accepted. Those who understand it feel that it’s corrupt but couldn’t imagine a way to take it apart. The majority who don’t understand can curse about corruption and talk about how dirty our politicians really are, but they have no other way to act other than to vent.

If the system of overreaching government, obtuse regulations, out-of-control entitlements, and upside-down tax and spend policies could be unraveled, we could build something that has never been built before: a true capitalistic republic that was driven by innovation and an empowered citizenry. Earlier, I wrote that innovation and creation built this nation, but mending it today and reclaiming our exceptionalism is not possible with the current state of affairs. This is extremely depressing because the advancements of communication and infrastructure that we enjoy today would yield the prime environment for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if we could just get government to allow it. We tasted this prosperity through most of the 20th century, but we got lazy. We got comfortable. We took our eye off the ball and failed to recognize that big government, once thought necessary to protect us, has become our greatest obstacle.

Imagine a government that protected everyone’s opportunity rather than everyone’s well-being. Instead of a nanny state, imagine a state that focused on helping people find and achieve personal goals. Instead of being protected, they could be empowered. Would some people fail? Yes. Would they require help? Yes. Should the government be the one who helps them? In most cases, no. Even the status of our welfare state could be privatized. The industry of caring for others in need has been left to the government and it continues to grow. While the government can provide the final safety net to prevent people from hitting the bottom, every safety net above could be better maintained in the private sector. We can see this very clearly evident in the most liberal cities in the country. The more the government “cares” for the people, the worse off those people tend to be.

Imagine a government that only regulated what absolutely needed to be regulated for the safety of citizens rather than the protection of special interests, a government that reduced taxes and fees on businesses to the point that they could be competitive on any market, whether local, national, or global. Instead of Big Sugar spending money lobbying and contributing to campaigns, what if they put all of their efforts (not to mention the money they didn’t have to pay to lobbyists and political campaigns) into innovation. Instead of relying on subsidies and tariffs, they would be forced to rely on their capabilities. Instead of figuring out how to keep the foreign companies down, what if they figured out how to make better sugar at a cheaper cost?

Whether it’s people or businesses, when the government takes away our ability to fail, they reduce our opportunity to succeed.

These are all topics that would require much more fleshing out than what I can put in a single blog post, but it’s important to understand one thing: none of this can be fixed without two major changes. The first major change is the two-party political system. Conservatives have no home for themselves. We rent a room in over the garage in the GOP’s house because it’s less liberal in general than the Democrats. Sadly, we are seeing a post-conservative Republican Party that still lays claim to the mantle of Reagan, Coolidge, and Lincoln without actually taking advantage of the mantle’s conservative philosophies. We need a new party.

The second major change is that we need an Article V Convention of States. It’s a good thing that there hasn’t been one in the past. Frankly, it wasn’t needed and would not have worked properly. Today, it’s desperately needed. Many fear a Convention of States because there’s a potential for disaster if it isn’t handled properly. The only way that it could work is if the vision of people like Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, and Mark Levin could be realized. We need amendments to the Constitution that rein in the federal government. We don’t need to add more restrictions to the people. We need to prevent Washington DC from continuing down the road it’s on.

This is a lot to take in and we’re just scratching the surface. In this strange Presidential election year, most eyes are on one candidate who will destroy us and another candidate who will transform us. Regardless of who wins, we know that government is going to continue to grow. It’s up to conservatives, TRUE conservatives, to stand athwart history yelling, “stop!” Otherwise, these issues big and small that we’re facing in the election will become irrelevant as the nation crumbles under the weight of a government that’s supposed to be covering our flank.