Big government at the cost of freedom

Freedom is the underlying principle that our nation was founded upon. It is what defines us as citizens of the United States of America, and is clearly spelled out in our country’s founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Under those documents we are free from tyranny, free to choose a religion, free to not choose a religion, free to pursue life and happiness, free to openly disagree with and protest our government officials, and we are even free to defend ourselves from a corrupt government with violence if necessary. Sadly these freedoms are slowly disappearing from our nation, and they aren’t being taken – they are being surrendered – by us, the People. Consider the following.

You are at the mall, and you find some guy with his hand in your pocket in an attempt to pull out your wallet. This is how the conversation goes.

You: “Whoa! What are you doing?”

Guy: “I am just going to safeguard your wallet for you. There are a lot of pick-pockets in this mall, and I don’t want you to become a victim. Don’t worry. I will go wherever you go, keeping your wallet safe with me.”

You: “Oh, Ok. Thank God someone is looking out for me – wait! Why are you taking out that $1 bill?”

Guy: “I’m thirsty. If I am going to walk with you all day I need something to drink.”

You: “Yeah, I suppose that’s fair. While we are headed to the food court I could use something to eat – wait! What is that $20 bill for?”

Guy: “I gotta eat too. Did you forget that I am looking after the money? I can leave.”

You: “No, no. Don’t do that.”

*You walk to the food counter*

You: “I would like the Reuben sandw-“

Guy: “You will have the salad.”

You: “What!? Why?”

Guy: “A Reuben? Seriously?”

You: “Fine. Can I at least get a cookie?”

You’re an adult. It’s your own money and you just asked permission to buy a cookie with it.

The reality is the Guy represents our government, and the wallet is healthcare, retirement, education, parenting, marriage, etc. Our government can’t seem to keep its hands out of our own pockets in an attempt to gain more and more control, and the confused electorate in our nation keeps handing over our God-given rights to a corrupt, power-hungry political system all in the name of security.

Consider Social Security. We pay into the system our entire working lives. It is our money, we work for it, and we let the government take it only to tell us when we can use it. Control of our own retirement was surrendered. It was birthed out of complex issues, which makes unraveling it even more complex, therefore the alternative option requires much greater sacrifice now than it would have without Social Security. That alternative option being you invest your own money, however and with whoever you choose, at the rate you choose, and use it as you choose – you decide, not the government. Currently, our government allows us to receive Social Security benefits between ages 62 and 67. Any earlier age would require seeking permission through our Federal legislature. Furthermore, there is a growing deficit within this program which significantly threatens its continuity, ironically putting our social security in danger.

In spite of this glaring case-study we are now actively engaged in political battle over government control of healthcare. Several years ago, we surrendered our right to choose health insurance coverage, and the government gave us everything we should have expected – higher premiums and lower levels of care. However, I do find comfort in knowing that if I become pregnant (I’m a guy) I am covered because it is built into my insurance premium as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately, things could be much worse, for now. At least we aren’t the UK.

Not only does the United Kingdom have a single-payer healthcare system, effectively stripping its citizens of even more decision making power (a.k.a. – freedom) than here in the US, it also regularly intrudes on parents’ sovereignty as decision makers for their children. Combine those two issues and you get the Charlie Gard debacle – a truly despicable case involving a terminally ill infant with experimental treatment as his only chance at life. At least experimental treatment is an option though, right? Sorry, but that is not correct. UK courts decided not to allow the parents to transport the child to the US for such treatment, and ordered that he remain in the UK where no treatment is available. He was effectively sentenced to death, supposedly sparing him from further discomfort. His parents asked for permission, and were denied.

And for all of you social justice warriors out there (look away fellow evangelicals), we shouldn’t have to obtain the government’s permission to get married either. Heterosexual or not, why do we need a license to commit to a person we love for the rest of our lives? But if a certificate of marriage is important to you, and it should be, churches and other private organizations would be just as capable of issuing such certificates, sans government permission.

These are all clear examples of overreach by over-sized governments, and the correlation should be obvious – the bigger and more powerful the government the less freedom its citizens enjoy. The founding fathers of our nation did not determine that our freedoms were elective. Rather they knew our freedoms are God-given and endowed by our creator – and if creation isn’t your thing then they are endowed by your own human existence – which is why they went to such great lengths to preserve those freedoms in writing when our country was formed.

Don’t get me wrong. We need the government as an entity. We need it to maintain law and order by protecting the freedoms of its people, and punishing those who subvert them. We also need government to provide national security. But every time you advocate for the government to intervene or control social and personal issues you voluntarily surrender your own freedom for it to do so. Furthermore, private organizations and the free-market are far more powerful tools, and are far better suited to tackle those issues.

We are intelligent, full-grown adults capable of making decisions for ourselves. We don’t need big-brother government telling us how to live our lives any more than we need a chaperone at the mall. Our government is out of control, but it is not too late. We are the People. We elect our officials. We engage in political discussion. We can all be activists working to shrink our government to the size it was originally intended to be. The simple fact is government has no business meddling with certain issues, and you shouldn’t want it to.

Paul Caputo

Paul Caputo is a rare thing in modern America, a Millennial with deeply rooted social conservative views and opinions. Paul is an educated and experienced financial professional with a background in corporate accounting & finance. As an active member of his community, Paul is an adoptive & foster parent as well as a leader and mentor for teenage youth. Paul is driven by a core set of Judeo-Christian beliefs that not only direct his political ideals, but also who he is as an individual. Consequently, Paul is very outspoken against the current conservative establishment that has made a dramatic shift towards the left.

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