Howard Blitz

More About: Philosophy: Libertarianism

The Coercive Meddling of Government Officials

Most government officials today seem to have lost the libertarian concept that their sole purpose for existence as elected or appointed officials is to protect the life, liberty, and property of all individuals, not try to protect all individuals from anything that could happen to them. 

In a libertarian (free) society, it is the responsibility of the individual to see to it that his life proceeds without harm.  Sometimes, actually most of the time, this requires help from family, friends, or others with whom individuals may contract.  Whichever way it is accomplished, the individual is responsible for his own life.  The only function that the government official has is to see to it that the players in society do not utilize force, in other words commit murder, rape, theft, fraud and the like, on others to achieve their ends. 

This is why just about every law that exists from smoking to gun possession to providing health care and education are the responsibility of the individual not the government official. 

The result of more and more government officials intruding upon the life of the individual creates more criminals because the act of possessing firearms, or now toy guns as is proposed by a New Jersey state senator, becomes a criminal act resulting in overcrowded jail cells requiring more government expenditure than is needed to protect the rights of life, liberty, and property of every individual.  Innocent individuals become criminals now just by possessing drugs, which are made illegal by government officials.  Individuals are now criminals if they do not label foods with the amount of Trans fats.  Individuals who do not pay “enough” income to others for their work are now criminals. 

This interventionist view justifies government officials making law under the procedural rule of due process in the name of protecting the individual because some individuals make bad decisions in their lives.  All individuals make bad decisions in their lives from time to time, but that does not justify the use of coercive meddling by the government official.  Being free and making one’s own decisions is extremely hard and difficult because it means the individual must take responsibility for his own actions.  It is much easier to allow a government official to take on one’s individual responsibility.  However, the net result is that the only means by which the government official can take on that responsibility is through action that would be illegal if the individual did it, the use of coercive force. 

Just because some one is “poor” does not automatically mean that the individual cannot obtain health care, an education, or feed and house himself.  There are many ways individuals could obtain all of these and many other needs and desires without the force of government officials creating legal plunder, as Fredric Bastiat referred to it.  Each individual just needs to be given the opportunity, especially one with very limited resources, to figure it out in his own way that is affordable to him. 

The interventionist mentality that pervades society today is a lost cause.  History tells us that socialism and coercive meddling by government officials has never worked and will never work in the long run.  It is the reason why the founders devised the United States Constitution to restrict government officials from coercively meddling in the affairs of individuals here and around the world. 

By extricating government officials from governing over education, health care, wages, licensing, and issuing permits for everything from being born to dying would exponentially expand economic and personal growth of the individual.  The free society is not a “perfect’ society because all humans would still make bad decisions in their lives.  However, it beats the alternative with which history is strewn, tyranny.

Tomorrow at 7 PM at The Freedom Library, located next door to the Circle K at 24th Street and 8th Avenue, The Freedom Library scholarship recipients will share their experience at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) on what and how they learn and understand the principles of liberty.  The public is invited.  Next month’s meeting will be August 16 at the downtown Yuma theatre at the Yuma Art Center when the story of Sophie Scholl’s last days and what she did to expose the Nazi regime will be shown.

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