|An expert opinion about government|
by Kurt St. Angelo
@2005 Libertarian Writers' Bureau
When we have a plumbing problem, we call a plumber. When we have a problem with our government, we call someone who studied government. Right?
I majored in government in college. I am an attorney and the son of a former Indiana Democratic Party chairperson. I received the highest grade in my public high school class of 1,250 students in a standardized government exam. I have government, politics and law running through my veins, but does anyone ever call me with their government problems? Heck no! Everybody’s an expert on government, some just more than others.
Very few government experts, except some Libertarians, seem to know anything about our unalienable natural rights. These rights are referred to in the Declaration of Independence (1776) and in both of Indiana’s constitutions (1816 and 1851). The former reads: “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness …”
Unalienable rights are natural choices – choices that Nature or our Creator gives us as our birthright, and that we cannot give up, waive or “lien” away. They are choices for which we would not naturally ask government’s permission, nor for which we can rightly be punished. The only moral and lawful limit to the exercise of our natural rights is to refrain from violating the same rights of others.
We don’t ask government’s permission to eat, breathe, drink, use the toilet or sleep. Nor do we call our favorite bureaucrat to think, pray or recreate. We also have natural rights to possess property, to contract with one another and to defend ourselves – all without the permission of government.
As well, we have the right to exchange our talents for value, called the right to work. This natural right does not mean that we have a right to a job or a certain wage. Those “rights” are actually government-bestowed privileges, called civil rights. All civil rights benefit one special-interest group at the expense of the natural rights or choices of others.
Natural unalienable rights are rights or choices that our ancestors exercised long before any governments (and their civil rights) were conceived. What made this country’s various governments different from all others before them was that they promised to protect these rights, free from the will and tyranny of those more powerful. “(T)o secure these Rights,” says the Declaration of Independence, “Governments are instituted among Men.”
I began voting Libertarian when I realized that both the Indiana General Assembly and Congress had strayed from their sole purpose to secure our natural rights and were violating them on behalf of special interest groups, including people in government.
For example, the income tax violates at least three of our natural rights: our rights to work, to contract and to the exclusive possession of our property. If we still exercised these rights, we could choose to work without first presenting a Social Security number. We would not be required to sign forms and report to the government every year, and we would take home all of our pay.
Most economic monopolies would not exist if our governments respected our natural rights to contract. We could hire whom we wanted to represent us in court, teach our children, or relieve our pain – based on their background, education and experience – not on government’s meaningless, biased and often dangerous stamps of approval.
In a world that respected our choices, there would be no licensed health-care monopoly, which uses government to protect and insulate itself from the 100,000 people it negligently kills each year. There would also be no education monopoly, run by teachers unions, to march our children into mediocrity. Injustice and ignorance are just two of the consequences when special interest groups use government to trample upon others’ rightful choices.
So hear it from a government major: Our state and federal governments’ sole legitimate function is to aid us in self-defending our own natural unalienable rights, and every single one of them is doing a horrible job at it. Almost every piece of modern legislation violates someone’s natural rights, which all the governments long ago promised to protect.
This is all because our current political leaders know less about the purpose of government than you do right now.
About the Author
Attorney, screenwriter and Libertarian Party activist in Indianapolis
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