by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Declaration of Independence says that governments are instituted among men to secure our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, too many people see government as the solution to whatever ails us.
Obesity a problem? We need the government to regulate what we eat. Wages too low? The government should set them. Are people doing things that you think are immoral? Criminalize those things. “There ought to be a law” has become the all-purpose political rallying cry.
And while omnipresent government may be the ethos of modern politics, it does not come without a cost.
The most obvious one, of course, is the modern leviathan state. We have a federal government that spends more than $4 trillion per year, is $20 trillion in debt, and regulates nearly every aspect of our lives. State and local governments follow suit. From our bedrooms to our businesses, there seems no area of our lives that lawmakers don’t believe it is their job to oversee, restrict, subsidize, or otherwise intrude upon.
This leaves us poorer, of course, but it also leaves us less free.