Idaho Freedom & Liberty Conference Speech
Does anyone doubt that government continues to grow, or that taxes continue to rise, or that our freedoms and liberties continue to disappear? Is there anyone who thinks that we do not live in a welfare state, a nanny state, or even a police state? This is not just the federal government I’m talking about; this is our state government!
We have a problem at the statehouse, and it’s time to expose what is happening. Year after year the state legislature passes hundreds of bills, controlling practically every aspect of our lives.
But wait, aren’t there some good conservatives in there trying to do the right thing, you ask? We need to get over the fallacy that our guy is the good guy– that it’s the rest of them causing the problems.
Let’s take a look at the last legislative session. I’m going to use the 343 bills that became law for my statistics. I know that there were a few bills that didn’t pass and some others that got stopped up in committees, but until we have a fully transparent government, it is practically impossible to obtain a voting record for those. Besides, I would rather focus on those bills that end up affecting us– those that became law.
Did you know that 54% of those bills passed unanimously? That included both the House and the Senate; the most conservative Republican, and the most liberal Democrat. Listen to these numbers– in the House, the legislator who defied the status quo the most still favored 80% of the legislation. Keep in mind that the Democrats supported 90% - 96% of the legislation. In the Senate it was even worse. While the Democrats didn’t change much (91%- 94%), the Republican who voted against the highest number of bills was in agreement with 94% of the legislation.
So, does this mean that all this legislation was good? Or was it just non-substantiative, as they like to term it? Well, let me read a partial list of what they decided to regulate this past session:
Oil and gas wells
Travel and conventions
Texting while driving
Global Entrepreneurial Mission Grant Fund
Do I need to go on? Only a small percentage of these bills could fit within the proper role of government.
Now, there are some of our legislators who understand the federal constitution, and the proper role of government at the federal level. But we have a problem at the state level. Who understands the proper role of government at the state level? What does a limited government look like?
Good government is based on the concept of individual, God-given rights. (Evil forms of government entertain the nonsensical notion of collective rights.) The foundation of government is an equal right to life. Property, or natural resources and their derivatives, is essential to sustain life. Liberty is necessary to acquire and control property. These three things form our basic rights. We also have an inherent right to secure these fundamental rights, all of which are gifts from God.
Our rights are limited by the rights of others. If we violate the rights of others, we have committed a crime. We hire government to help us secure our rights. If we assign any power to government that we do not have a right to as an individual, then government becomes tyrannical. In fact, if we support the use of government to do anything that would be considered a crime if we were to do it individually, we are no more or less than a criminal at heart.
Government is force, and using government to force men to do good works takes away the agency of man. We must put an end to the redistribution of wealth– to legal plunder.
Just as we cannot preemptively interfere in the lives of others, we should not do so using government. We need to understand that a properly limited government must be reactive in nature, not proactive.
These principles apply to government at all levels.
State government must be constrained to its proper role. We can’t say that we want to eliminate emissions testing, for instance, and then vote to continue it. We cannot say we are pro-life and then vote to continue the state authorization of abortion with different restrictions. We can’t say we are against urban renewal and then vote to simply “reform” it. We can’t say we are against welfare and then turn around and call for more funding of the grand-daddy of all welfare programs– public education.
It is time to reclaim our liberty. It can happen at the state level. We can enforce the federal constitution and keep the federal government in check if we simply have the courage to do so. We can restructure our state government, and model it after the original federal constitution as it conforms to the proper role of government I described earlier.
We cannot continue to elect the same people over and over and expect a different result. Empty promises and rhetoric have gotten us nowhere. During my campaign, as I delineate my positions, I know that I have said many things that other find uncomfortable, but it is my intent to change the dialogue in our state politics. We will never see the change we need if we aren’t willing to even discuss these important matters.
It will take honesty, knowledge, and courage. I invite you to come talk with me to learn more. Thank you.