Preserve Liberty with an Opt-Out Principle
Surely no one was surprised to read the New York Times headline “Obama Making Plans to Use Executive Power.” Renouncing the doctrine of separation of powers and exploiting executive power makes it easier for a president to impose, with swarms of regulatory agencies and administration officials, what the congressmen you actually elected could not even convince you to accept. This particular stage of this particular presidency is not unexpected; indeed it was explained to you during the State of the Union Address that all the big government you thought you didn’t want, you actually do want.
Obama’s plans, along with grants of cash (not his, yours) to this or that “technology” initiative, include establishing a tax-increase commission (the trillion dollars in individual taxes collected does not suffice). They also include imposing EPA greenhouse gas rules without waiting for clarification about corrupt datasets underlying the allegedly official reports that in turn underlie all calls for regulation. But of course the climate debate’s always been about control of energy as such; were the CO2 issue to vanish overnight, other rationales for politically administering your and even the world’s access to energy would quickly surface.
Note how the proposed uses of executive represent expansions of the state rather than pro-liberty reductions, like say, banning income-tax withholding by Treasury, or creation of a commission specfically commanded to propose reductions in regulations on small business, or a commission to eliminate government agencies altogether.
The constitutional Doctrine of Separation of Powers was meant to protect you from the things Washington is doing now. It would require (for one example) Congress in many instances to approve a president’s executive decrees before they could actually bind you.
Unfortunately though, separation of powers is no longer a principle of limited government. Now, all that separation of powers means is that there is no specific tyrant. Nealy all that the federal government does every single day is well beyond the proscribed powers of keeping order that a part-time and term-limited Congress could easily achieve.
We’ve argued often that a nation’s prosperity requires something apart from an expanded state, collectivism new government spending, yet more stimulus to nowhere, and today’s incarnation, the use of greater executive power. Restoring economic growth and healthy bounds on government only requires assurances that Uncle Sam will keep his hands in his own pockets and reject the model of government steering while the market is forced to row toward crosswind, collectivist, selfish political goals.
Thank You Just the Same, But NO
But we can outgrow an ill-advised American leviathan whatever mistakes are entrenched now, by applying liberty to the future.
Future generations of Americans, those not yet born, need not be forced into the preposterous government “entitlement” (more properly, “impoverishment”) programs of today, and the new programs being imposed even now.
Liberty will thrive if we end the business of binding posterity to the statist aspirations of contemporary politicians. The future of liberty lies in the direction of this reform, a new “Proscriptive Principle” that limits what today’s politicians can do to tomorrow’s Americans. Politicians and modern public policy forget that we are not immortal.
Or to put it in simpler terms, call it Opt-Out. Liberty requires preserving the right of future generations with no voice today to opt-out of government programs created by transitory politicians they never even knew.
Note: Image “Liberty Bell” by basykes; CC Attribution.