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The US Census

This site gets updated all too infrequently, but I heard on the radio today a commercial for the US Census which begged a response.  In short it ran along these lines:  If we had just 100 kids we’d need 5 teachers for them all, but if next year we had a lot more kids, we’d need a lot more teachers, but if we didn’t know how many kids we wouldn’t know how many teachers we’d need.  The census helps us get our fair share of money and services…

Okay, stop the presses.  The Census exists, Constitutionally for one reason: To ensure that the population is correctly recorded so that congressional districts could be defined, and to determine what portion of taxes were to be levied on a state, proportional to the percentage of the population.  The census was not about getting services or money from the federal government, but that’s where we’re at now.

We’ve come from a nation of entrepreneurs who  fundamentally changed the world, to a nation of people who expect their government to take care of them.  Our history is littered with people who came to this country as paupers and through work and persistence became captains of industry, millionaires, successful.

Today, when a person is destitute they turn to the government for a handout, and blame the rich for being greedy.  They sit and watch television while collecting “entitlements.”  The American Dream, the American Spirit is one of industry, ingenuity, and independence.  It is what made America Great, and in it’s absence we cannot endure.

Freedom and responsibility are inextricably tied to one another.  You cannot separate the one without destroying the other. Without personal accountability, there can be no freedom.  When we surrender our accountability to another, giving our well being, be it for our money, or healthcare, or our retirement to another, we lose the freedom to decide what happens to us. We place ourselves at the mercy of faceless bureaucracy at best, at worse an oppressive tyranny.

Even if we end up with the benign tyranny of a bureaucracy, we still face the tyranny of a loss of freedom.  Consider the gradual erosion of our freedoms, which may seem small, but the smallest erosion, with enough time will make canyons of mountains. 

Here’s a list of freedoms lost in the course of my lifetime:

1. To go anywhere with a pocket knife.
I used to fly from coast to coast with a pocket knife. It’s a useful tool for opening a bag of peanuts, trimming my nails, cutting a hangnail, etc.  Now, if I try to take this “weapon” on a plane I can get arrested.

2. Teach my son to drive:
My father taught me to drive, but that’s not an option anymore.  Most states require a driver certification from an expensive school before a kid can get a driver’s license.

3. The Right to Bear Arms:
The founders insisted that the Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution before they would sign it, and in that bill they insisted on the right to bear arms for self defense, hunting, and to secure their rights in themselves.  Yet there are cities and states that violate that right.  When I was a kid, only 25 years ago, some of the students drove trucks to school with rifles mounted in the rear window of the cab.  Out of the millions of students who attend school every year, less than one one-thousandth of a percent have ever turned a gun on a fellow student, and if teachers had been allowed to carry a weapon, those students could have been stopped.  The right to protect myself is gradually being stripped from me.

4. Spank your kids, go to jail:
When I was  young I got in trouble… a lot.  I got spanked a lot.  Today, because of my parents liberal application of a belt to my backside I’m a well adjusted, responsible, honest man. However, the State thinks it’s a better judge of how to raise a child than ten thousand years of human history,and if you discipline your child in a way the State doesn’t like, you can go to jail, or worse, lose your kids.

5. Preserve the innocence of your children:
States and the Education System want to introduce children as early as eight to “age appropriate” sex education.

6. Zero Tolerance Policies:
This monstrosity of meddlesome government bureaucracy has seen children expelled from school for punching a bully who started a fight, kids expelled for pushing drugs because they shared an aspirin, or getting suspended for wearing a Christian themed shirt.  It’s absurd, but we hear about it every day.

7. Incandescent bulbs will become illegal in 2012:
You can’t use inexpensive, safe incandescent  bulbs to light your your home after 2012, but must start using compact fluorescent bulbs, which if broken can expose your family to dangerous levels of mercury.  In New York City, certain kinds of cooking oil are illegal, and the governor even tried to ban certain kinds of televisions.

There are more freedoms lost than I mention here. Consider what fireworks you’re allowed to celebrate the 4th of July with. Roman Candles, no.  Spinnerets, no.  Bottle Rockets, no.   In fact, 11 states completely ban or only allow sparklers and novelty (non explosive) fireworks. The irony of states restricting the use of fireworks on a holiday intended to celebrate our liberty is absurd, but as James Madison wisely remarked,  “There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.”

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