"What are y'all doing about reducing the size of government and lowering taxes?" Plus, Famous Political Quotes!
by Larry Perrault on March 31, 2010 at 3:49 PM
The question, "What are y'all doing about reducing the size of government and lowering taxes?" was recently posed to the Republican Party of Texas. Thank you for pressing the question. For myself, over 14 years of participation in and observation of The Republican Party of Texas, suggests that a very possible answer is that there will be much gesticulating and clamor, all to boil down in finality to little more than rhetoric and platform resolutions. I’ve been pushed all of my life, but this health care law has to be a line.
One can hope that now that we have a more assertive and principle-more-than-political posture-driven Republican Party Chair, we may see some measure of willingness to lean into the wind of popular-but-insubstantial propriety. However, I do say that while at the same time understanding that as things currently stand, events have accrued to the point that the critical question may be that of to what extent the state and its citizens are prepared to challenge the presumption of the federal government to overstep both its constitutional power and its practical capacity to usurp the proper domain of the states and people, and dictate the most minute and intimate behavior of its citizens. I admit that I’m beyond weary and actually exhausted and dejected at my futile efforts to obtain any other answer or a suitable explanation for the lack of one.
We do know that many states (and probably more to follow) have initiated legal action to contest this federal overreach. However, all discussion has seemed to operate under the assumption that if, as we know it quite possible, the court system in finality concludes that the federal government has a prevailing power to override the deference of states and individuals, that they ought and would concede and surrender their claim upon those rights. And in addition, I would raise the question of whether, if in this case, there is no restraint on the power of the federal government, there remains any constraint at all of the federal government under either the 10th Amendment specifically, or The US Constitution in general. If in fact not, then away with them both! Let us express our veneration to them on our knees before an exhibit at a museum!
So, the essential question is whether there is any, and if so, what is the intention of both officials of our state and the leadership of our party, if the constraints laid upon a federal government by America’s founding documents are in practice utterly eviscerated. Is it thought a matter of gentility and good sportsmanship to swallow and assimilate the end of those rights once thought appropriate to both nature and expediency? If that is the case, a couple of stories leap to mind:
1) The first is from popular culture in the movie “Braveheart.” King Edward “LongShanks” has sent his daughter-in-law princess to deliver the king’s offer to negotiate a peace with Scottish seekers of independence. William Wallace’s response in this clip seems analogous to me of shrinking at the dictat of rogue-appointed judges.
2) The second is from the real history of America’s founding. Surely, King George III and the crown loyalists thought them crude ruffians when the American founders declared their independence on the assertion of creator-endowed inalienable rights. Yet they did so calling it both their right and duty, pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Might they have not been so hasty if only they were mollified with fast-food and American Idol?
Settling for illegitimate rule is either sloth or cowardice, or both. I found a nice site of liberty quotes and dragged out about a page of them. If all of these don’t tell you we are responsible to confront power, go back to your burger and television.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1799
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips, (1811-1884)
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams
"Voting is no substitute for the eternal vigilance that every friend of freedom must demonstrate towards government. If our freedom is to survive, Americans must become far better informed of the dangers from Washington -- regardless of who wins the Presidency." -- James Bovard in Voting is Overrated
"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." -- Somerset Maugham
"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -- Mark Twain
"Against us are... all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty... We are likely to preserve the liberty we have obtained only by unremitting labors and perils." --Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei, 1796. ME 9:336
"The Romans used to say that courage is not the only virtue, but it's the only one that makes the other virtues possible." -- Benjamin Netanyahu to Brian Lamb on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Sept. 21, 2001
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." -- Daniel Webster (1834)
"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass
"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." -- Thomas Jefferson
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."-- Thomas Jefferson
“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.” -- H. L. Mencken, "Why Liberty?" January 30, 1927
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." -- Patrick Henry, Virginia's Ratification convention, 1788
"No one can find a safe way out for himself if socety is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." -- Ludwig von Mises
"The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them..." -- Mark Twain
"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.-- Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U.S. Judge, in American Communications Association v. Douds, May 1950
"Liberty is a political firewall that limits the damage government can do to the individual." -- James Bovard
"The idea that political freedom can be preserved in the absence of economic freedom, and vice versa, is an illusion. Political freedom is the corollary of economic freedom." -- Ludwig von Mises, the great Austrian-Jewish economist, in the January 1949 issue of Plain Talk
"The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management." -- Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.
"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -- Frederick Douglass
"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." -- Milton Friedman
"As long as human beings are imperfect, there will always be arguments for extending the power of government to deal with these imperfections. The only logical stopping place is totalitarianism -- unless we realize that tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom." -- Dr. Thomas Sowell
"Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you." -- Benjamin Franklin
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." – Plato
"The World is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything." -- Albert Einstein
If the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, perhaps we are looking at the consequence of a people in a prolonged siesta. Maybe, one ought to shop elsewhere in the world for any such character.