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Commentary from the Free Enterprise Foundation, Issue 2010-04 More Thought Provoking Commentary!
February 23, 2010
You are invited to read this commentary from the Free Enterprise Foundation. It will make you think!
In the Nation's Service
By Robert E. Freer, Jr., President of The Free Enterprise Foundation
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."- Cicero - 55 BC
In the years allotted to them, men assume many roles: husband, father, parishioner, worker, civic volunteer; name a hundred others, and you would not run out of descriptive terms to describe the roles we play in the lives of others, nor do I mean to deny the many sided roles of woman; so, accept my words as applying without limitation on the roles of sentient hominids.
Among the roles that I have played in addition to those above is political partisan and leader of various efforts to enshrine the beliefs I espouse within my family and community. I am, after all, a conservative, and both reason and life’s experience have taught me the importance of limiting what I ask of government for fear that a government that can give me all that I want, can also take everything I hold dear, especially my freedom.
That being said, the most important role for me is that of American citizen. I dare say that is true for all of you reading these words. George Washington abhorred adherence to partisan dictates. In his view it will ultimately run us amuck! No other nation has so prospered by allowing its people to reach for whatever socially useful goal, - and many not so useful- its people aspire to achieve. Nor has any other nation given so much including the blood of our sons and daughters for freedom’s support around the world. We are a nation of patriots! Partisan politics on the other hand becomes a bidding game for the votes of the public, and when more than half become dependent on government largesse, our republic and our freedom are lost.
The late pastor Adrian Rogers put it this way: “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
While only a quarter of my career has been spent in active government service, I have always thought my work in the law and corporate management to be consistent with my college’s motto which states I was prepared by it “In the Nations Service.” In a time of great need, we must all ask, are we using all our faculties and experience to assure we are as individuals acting in our Nations Service?
Today is a time of such need. Our nation needs us to restore that healthy balance between the states and the federal government and restore the federal government to a much smaller role in our daily lives. If we continue on the road we tread, like Rome, our Republic simply cannot long endure. The Tea Party is really not a party in the sense we normally use the term, but rather, a loose confederation encompassing millions of citizens from right, left and center, who have come together complaining not about a message poorly articulated but its implications. They get the message! It has been clearly and incessantly delivered. It’s the policy about which they complain. To serve our nation, we should all be members of the Tea Party movement.
We are in a fix because we have allowed generations of politicians of both parties to ignore the wisdom of our Founders. They have layered service upon service on the electorate in an effort to get elected and then stay elected. This pandering to which candidate will bring home more bacon has just about bankrupted us. It has been achieved without any meaningful attention to how it can be sustained financially. Our politicians, using the Commerce Clause, have eviscerated the essential relationship between the states and its people, and our federal union is, as a result, in peril.
We have layered responsibility upon responsibility on the federal government for what are now viewed as “entitlements.” It, in turn, has layered on the states, program upon program without adequate resources. It demands that the states make up for the difference from the pockets of its citizens. The states are caught in a cycle of requirements and inadequate federal funding to maintain them. We have done the same in the delivery of justice. A succession of Chief Justices have complained annually about the galloping federalization of all crimes to have a federal equivalent or overlapping offense that is making even the local drugstore robbery a federal offense. As part of the bitter medicine we must for a time endure, all this needs to end.
As I write this, Europe is embroiled, and thus our markets are embroiled, by The European Union’s increasingly frantic actions to stabilize the financial peril of Greece. We should bear heed. Its problem is like our own, too many benefits, not enough sustainable funding. It has been ever thus. Cicero, in the quote, above could be writing for today, not in 55BC.
If we but heed the signs and the lessons of history, all is not lost. If we listen to our Founders, it is not too late. We have a strong nation carried forward by a strong people. The world looks to us to remain strong, and our interests demand the same. Strength comes from the free actions of our people in free enterprise creating the services and products that we need and the world wants.
I have been writing about the shift happening across the world for a number of years now, and if freed from noxious taxes that are among the world’s highest, our re-energized private sector is equal to the challenge. It needs to be freed, as well, from nonsensical restrictions that do not assure honesty but do insure that our industry will always be the bridesmaid, not the bride in international competition.
If properly encouraged to do so, the private sector can also provide economical full medical care insurance and a world class 21st century medical care delivery system. The program being pushed by the administration is deceitful and will ultimately end up creating a one size fits all medical care that the nation does not want. The system that will work best will recognize our diversity with a national insurance market, a generous health care savings system with grants to those at the bottom of our economy and a no-fault system without excessive punitive rewards for litigants. Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich have been pushing well constructed programs in Social Security and health care that are very promising. They deserve serious consideration as alternatives that work while protecting our freedom. _._
Copyright © 2010 by Robert E. Freer, Jr. All rights reserved
Robert E. Freer, Jr., is president of the Free Enterprise Foundation. He is also the first BB&T Visiting Professor in Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel. A regular contributor to the Mercury, Prof. Freer may be reached at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like him to appear before your group or organization to speak on any of the subjects about which he writes, please contact him at The Citadel. Copies of his earlier columns may be found at www.FreeEnterpriseFoundation.org
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