Boots & Sabers

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Owen

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0740, 15 Nov 22

Make government small again

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

As I sit writing this column, it has been five days since the election, and we still do not know the outcome of several critical races. It is unacceptable that our elections have become so sloppy and rife with opportunities for fraud that we can no longer trust that the outcomes reflect the true will of the people. Irrespective of who ends up winning, the losing side will rightfully question the results and the steady erosion of our civic society will continue apace.

 

In the aftermath of another contentious election, I once again find myself lamenting the emotional investment that so many of us have in the outcome. Why does the outcome of this election matter so much to so many people? Why does it matter at such a personal, emotional level? Why do we think that the outcome will have an impact on our daily lives? Why is it so easy to appreciate why people would be willing to risk ruin and cheat in order to bend elections their way?

 

We care so much because it does matter so much, but it shouldn’t. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were not supposed to live our lives so much under the boot of government that every election feels like we are making irrevocable life-altering decisions. If, as Henry David Thoreau said, “that government is best which governs least,” then our government is very far from being the best. 

 

[…]

 

We have allowed our governments at all levels to be too big, too intrusive, too powerful, too coercive, and too corrosive. As long as this is the case, our elections will continue to be battles in a passionate ideological warfare where the combatants are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to win because the consequences of losing are too dire. Such warfare will continue to rend our civic society along the many seams of our polycultural society.

 

If we want a return to normalcy, or, at least, if we want to avoid the inevitable slide into further despotism, we must drastically push our government back to the fringes of our lives. The purpose of our government is to protect individual liberty. That’s it. Nothing more. It is not the purpose of government to manage the economy, dictate our culture, or regulate our personal lives. The longer we allow our government to stray from its purpose, the more our society will devolve into irreconcilable factions that lurch for power.

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0740, 15 November 2022

1 Comment

  1. Tuerqas

    Hey, it sounds like you have come to the conclusion I did when, as a Freshman in WBWHS, I joined the Young Libertarian Party. Whether you agree or not, I think it is also obvious that the members of our Government will not voluntarily give up power. They will attack, marginalize and when pushed, repress and arrest people who do more than say such things…

    What we really need is for the States to call for a constitutional convention, but I fear the States are too dependent on DC to ever do such a thing, and of course the same national representatives who want to keep power would be at the convention rather than people who desire to fix the broken system.

    The BBATF coming to pass would be a real step in the right direction, but 6 more states would have to agree. If something positive came out of it, the mere successful action could be enough to rein in some small amount problems because the people would feel empowered. Most people have never heard of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force even though Wisconsinites are one of the 28 signees currently on board.
    Imagine everyone talking positively about changes that even Dem and Rep voters agree on instead of the contrived bickering and belittling we have accepted as the only avenue for political discussion and faux change. But nobody knows about it, so nobody cares and if they did, the media would force it into contention rather than collaboration.

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