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Please Make It Stop!

September 10, 2012

The conventions are over and Labor Day has passed so now the political campaigns are here for a while.  Most Americans hate our politicians and the parties that keep nominating them.  Even partisans just hate their own pols a little less than the other party.  The process gets more bitter, partisan and corrupt each time.  Could it be that each of our two major parties has it only half right?

Republicans: they’re all over economic freedom and liberty and I agree, you should be able to choose any milk you want and buy (or not buy) health insurance without being bossed around by the nanny state.  We part company when they turn around and draft the same enemy (big government) to tell you who you can’t marry or what you can’t smoke.

Democrats: they’re all about personal freedom and liberty and I agree, who you sleep with should be your choice.  We part company when they insist that freedom and liberty don’t extend to buying raw milk or not buying health insurance.

So my behavior is my business… and your behavior is my business too if (IMHO) you behave badly.

Before Thomas Jefferson wrote the words that changed the world in our Declaration of Independance:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

The original property right is you are your own property.  At birth, the only property we have is our body.  But since it’s yours, you’re free to go where you want, to do what you want, to think and speak as you choose, even to be left alone so long as you’re not hurting anyone else.

Jefferson called these the rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.  He said we are endowed with these rights by our Creator.  He didn’t care which Creator you prefer.  He said these rights are “unalienable” which means you can’t separate them from you; they can’t be taken or given away.

Then he wrote that because we all have the same rights, we are all created equal. But he wasn’t done with his radical thinking.  Jefferson then wrote that governments are created by the people to secure these rights and that they only derive their power from the consent of the people they govern.  The American Revolution really was revolutionary!

Personal rights and property rights are two sides of the same coin.  A government that siezes your home to build a new mall is as abusive as laws requiring vaginal probes.  Democratic ideas about personal and civil rights compliment Republican ideas about property rights.  Together, they form the core of classical liberalism.  People have rights to themselves and their property.  A government worth respecting would enforce simple, clear, fair rules that “secure the rights” of all.

For what it’s worth, I’m also in favor of merging all the worst beliefs of our current parties into a new “Truly Awful” party, but that’s a subject for another post.

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