29. February, 2004 - Leap Day

February’s usually a long enough month already, but I guess if you’re going to make it longer, this year is an okay one to do it. We’ve had pretty nice weather in the latter part of February, and I’m not especially anxious for the snow that usually hits us in March. I’ll enjoy the extra day this year.

That leads me to my rant for the day. I’ve been thinking about politics. I just don’t see how anyone can claim that they’re for more personal freedom (and generally line up on the left of the current political spectrum) while still thinking that bigger government and other social programs are a good thing.

As soon as you have government redistributing money, you’ve given up some measure of personal freedom. Take marriage, with the accompanying benefits like health-insurance or different tax rates for couples filing jointly. If it weren’t for government being in the marriage business, same-sex marriages wouldn’t be as big of a deal one way or another.

No Child Left Behind is another example. Cities and states started taking federal money for education (it was about 7% of their budgets in the last numbers I can find), and in exchange, they’re having to face federal intervention in education (even if it claims to offer more local control in the long run).

Remember the 55mph speed limit? Or moving the drinking age to 21 nationwide? Both are cases where the federal government blackmailed states into changing their laws by threatening to withhold highway dollars. As soon as you start to take money or services from the government, you’ve also accepted whatever strings are attached (either now, or in the future) to that money. Once government has power over some portion of your life with laws are on the books, those laws are open to selective enforcement, like the two cops in Georgia in the story I mention above. That’s why I advocate smaller government and fewer laws.

The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away. - John S. Coleman, Address, Detroit Chamber of Commerce, 1956

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:56:11.