Wednesday, November 16, 2016

No Regulation without Representation

Included in the foundational document of our great nation -- the Declaration of Independence -- is a long list of grievances which provided the reasons on which the Continental Congress based its declaration that,

"these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do."

Midway through that list of grievances is the following:

"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."

Were the great men who affixed their signatures to that document -- mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor -- to see the huge and onerous regulatory apparatus that today sends hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance, they would no doubt exclaim in unanimous exasperation something along the lines of:

"We thought we won the war!  Nothing has changed!  In fact, things are much worse than under King George!"  

Or words to that effect.  The Colonel imagines the Founders would use far more colorful and impactful language than his meager attempt at channeling -- as was their genius.  

No doubt those great men would be apoplectically appalled at the overbearing governmental (Federal, state, and local) bureaucracy that controls every aspect of the American citizens' lives today, no matter how well-meaning the bureaucrats' intentions.  

Bureaucracies nearly always begin with the best of intentions -- to save us from ourselves.  Bureaucrats nearly always end up expanding their power and justifying their existence with more and more regulations.  Bureaucracies become principalities in and of themselves, answerable to none but themselves.

Our elected representatives, at all levels of government, create and empower these bureaucratic principalities, and then allow them to run roughshod over the rights of those they are elected to represent -- in effect, abdicating their responsibilities and betraying their oaths. 

Were the great men who affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence -- mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor -- to speak to our situation today, the Colonel fervently believes they would say,

"No regulation without representation!

Those great classical liberals (not to be confused with today's statist socialist progressives we call "liberals"), upon seeing the state of regulatory affairs in their United States, would no doubt tear the powdered wigs from their heads and wail in mourning, reprising Charlton Heston's final line in the cinematic classic "Planet of the Apes,"  

"You maniacs!  You blew it up!  Damn them!  Damn them all to hell!"

Or words to that effect.  The Founders were far more eloquent and far less profane than 20th Century movie script writers.

It should be pointed out at this juncture that objective historians note that the standard of living and range of rights enjoyed by mid 18th Century Colonial Americans were, in fact, far higher and more expansive than those of the average Londoner at the time.  Current demographers and social scientists make a similar claim about the standard of living and rights of American citizens vis-à-vis the rest of the world.  But one should never confuse the cleanliness and security of one's cage with the blessings of freedom and self-determination.

It was personal and commercial freedom, relatively unfettered by bureaucratic regulation, that catapulted a colonial back-water to hemispheric dominance in little more than four generations and to world power in little more than four more generations. 

For the last four generations, the American Republic has stagnated under a blanket of bureaucratic control that keeps it warm and safe, but stifles the growth that comes only from rising to challenges. 

Truly making America great again will mean sacrificing the Republic's social security (not be confused with the agency of the same name) in the short term, for the sake of long-term growth-inducing challenge.  Therefore, the first action of the new Presidential Administration and the Congress, must be, not just token regulatory reform, but full-scale bureaucratic house-cleaning.  Strip it down to the bare bones.  Eliminate any regulation, and its parent bureaucracy, that sacrifices individual and commercial freedom at the alter of transitory security. 

Then, watch the American Republic soar.   
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