It's Gray Area: How much government is too much government?

Perhaps you're a Functional Libertarian.

August 02, 2013|By James P. Gray

The following question is meant to be practical, not philosophical, and your answer is important.

Do you want unlimited government?

That would mean that government would effectively take responsibility for deciding and controlling all aspects of our lives. Honestly, I don't think I have ever encountered anyone who wants that.

One reason of course, is that unlimited government doesn't work. For example, the governments in China, Cuba and the former Soviet Union took away many personal freedoms, but they still had some limitations on government, and even then their systems were stagnant.


If you agree with me so far, I am asking you for a favor. Ask yourself what limitations should be placed on government. Then think seriously about the issue and write down your answers.

This fundamental political issue gets almost no attention from most voters or the media, but it literally defines who we are politically. And, furthermore, it means that we cannot vote intelligently either for or against any candidates unless we know what their views are on this critically important issue.

A good place to start is to focus on what the Founding Fathers decided. This can be found in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which says that the federal government is delegated the power to establish such things as a common currency, a set of rules to regulate commerce with foreign countries and also among the states, immigration into our country, a military, and court system to protect us from others and from ourselves. I am not one of those who believes that the original intent of the Founding Fathers should control our interpretation of the Constitution, but it is a good place to start.

Importantly, your review of the Constitution will not disclose anything that gives power to the government to control or even affect things like education, healthcare or drug policy. In fact, since the 9th and 10th Amendments specifically state that unless powers are delegated in the Constitution to the federal government, they are expressly reserved for the People and the states.

Nevertheless, ever since the Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency, agents of federal, state and local governments have continually expanded their power. And, along the way, these agents have often themselves become a privileged class. Have you noticed?

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