Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Road to Serfdom is Paved with Exceptions

For decades I have been sitting across the table from politicians, authors, business leaders, and economists as guests on one of the radio. There have been a few that believe that the government is the solution to virtually every problem. Government needs to solve health care, housing, poverty, and more. The vast majority believe that freedom works. They will be quick to say government does too much and that its role should be strictly limited.

These conversations tend to run a similar course. They will say the "free market is so amazing and powerful, it is able to create jobs and new industries. It is terrible that government seems to do everything in its power to undermine the economy's potential." However, you dig a little deeper and then you start finding exceptions. Most of the time those exceptions are based on what they do for a living. Attorneys who represent clients who have suffered property damage will say, "they support free enterprise, except when it comes to the regulations they place on insurance companies." The farmer will tell you, "I definitely support free enterprise, except when it comes to agriculture subsidies." Scientists definitely believe the economy is best left alone "except when it comes to research grants." You get the idea.

As a result, the United States is, largely, socialistic. We can argue to what extent, but there is no doubt what our country has become. The single biggest (and fastest growing) part of our GDP is government and it has evolved over the decades to accommodate exceptions like those above. Now we have millions of Americans who support free enterprise, "except." That "except" is bankrupting us and destroying our freedoms.

One of the most inspiring things I ever witnessed was the "Damn Right" campaign for President of Pete dupont in 1988. In that year, I actually voted for the former Delaware Governor while managing a Congressional race in West Texas. I have the feeling I was the only one who casted such a vote in that town. He lost big time in the ballot box, but his message is as potent today as it was then. Pete duPont had no problem telling farmers, seniors, scientists and anyone else that they were part of the problem and that everyone would have to sacrifice in order to restore our freedoms. It was "damn right" for people to carry their own weight and not seek government as a solution.

Those who founded this Republic were aware that it was the natural tendency of government to expand over time. That is why they believed in the dispersion of power and they wanted to make changes in policy hard to achieve. The states would not ratify the Constitution with its "necessary and proper clause" that could be used for all form of abuses, without a Tenth Amendment that makes it perfectly clear that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Those who created this republic saw a nation of nations, with each state offering their own unique approaches to solving problems. They believed that each of these states served as a check to the others because people could leave that state to another that provided more freedom. The decline in our liberties and the increase in socialism, are all linked to the undermining of the political institutions in government designed to protect us from an authoritarian federal government. It is also indicative of a nation that is rapidly moving from "rule by law" to 'rule by mob." The fast track to socialism the US is taking is not driven nearly as much by philosophy as it is selfish want.

If we are interested in restoring individual freedoms and making a nation into one that has prosperity as a priority, it begins by leaving our personal preferences behind. That is a necessary part of the path to freedom to get us off the road to serfdom.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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