In Lost Rights James Bovard writes, "the more powerful government has become, the more likely the people's values are to be debased. Current tax and welfare policy maximizes the rewards for dependency and the penalties for self-reliance. There is a great deal that people can do to help themselves and to help their neighbors and those in need. But the more powerful government has become, the more people devote their attention to Washington rather than to their own efforts. John Stuart Mill wrote in 1859: 'the most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power."
"We have paid dearly for idealizing the state. There is no virtue in denying the law of gravity, and there should be no virtue in denying the limitations of government. Good intentions are no excuse for perpetual failure and growing oppression. The more we glorify government, the more liberties we will lose. Freedom is largely a choice between allowing people to follow their own interests or forcing them to follow the interests of bureaucrats, politicians, and campaign contributors. This is the soul of the debate between liberty and pseudo paternalism, between letting people build their own lives and forcing them to build their lives as politicians dictate."
"We must depoliticize American life -- to roll back the tide of government control over the individual's life. Politicians are expropriating a larger share of people's lives each decade. The expansion of government power is increasing like the invasion of a foreign army in the territory of one's own life. For politicians, the duty to protect always includes the right to control."
"America needs fewer laws, not more prisons. Rather than trying to dictate wages, or hiring, or the size of nectarines, or the use of private land, government should confine itself to protecting people against overt violence and fraud. Thomas Babington Macaulay, the British historian, wisely observed in 1839 that 'government should be organized solely with a view to its main end; and no part of its efficiency for that end should be sacrificed in order to promote any other end however excellent.' Government can make great contributions to social progress by upholding law and order, by maintaining a legal code that recognizes individual rights and the sanctity of contract, and by preserving national security. The important thing is not what government attempts, but what it achieves. We have abandoned the tasks that government can and should perform to pursue goals that government has no ability to achieve."
"The time has come for a repeal session of Congress -- time to recognize the failure of hundreds of existing government policies. Rather than further decimating people's rights and liberties, we should decimate the federal statute book and sharply reduce the domain of people's lives subject to political whim and bureaucratic fiat."
"Henry David Thoreau wrote, 'If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intent of doing you good, run for your life.' Unfortunately, the entire American society cannot pick up and run from the government. The time has come to face up to the pervasive failures and to radically reduce government officials' power to coerce, expropriate, and subjugate other Americans. The American public placed faith in the State, and the State failed. We need a new faith in individual liberty."
Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom writes, "Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion -- the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals -- the technique of the marketplace."
More and more people are becoming to see that big government is not good. In Hands Off, Susan Lee, a prominent writer on economics who is on the editorial boards of the New York Times, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal as well as a professor at Columbia University has over the years come to see government as she says a "menace to economic health." She says "When I started writing about economic policy in the mid 1970s, I focused on smaller things -- regulations gone bad, laws with unintended consequences. But my bottom line was always that if government were a little smarter, or a tad more agile, it could make things right. That's what I had been taught by professors with models and equations that I dutifully and confidently copied into my notebook. Indeed, that's what I taught to my students."
"In the late 1970s, when I started to pay attention to what was actually going on in the real world, I began to suspect that this was a lot of hooey." She voted for Carter and thought Reagan was too simple minded. But she grew to see the light. She finally realized "that government activism -- no matter how pure of purpose, how cleverly planned and executed -- has three results: it gives rise to unintended consequences, it creates uncertainty and promotes short-term thinking in the private sector, and it leads to government regulation of many aspects of the economy that should be left alone."
"Like all authors, I am going to say that my argument is particularly important today. Right now, at this minute, the United States is at an economic turning point. The chief rival to our economic system, socialism, has been discredited. Our own system, liberal capitalism (or whatever you choose to call it), is victorious but wheezing a bit."
"In short, many people feel ... it's time to set off in a different direction. Two other roads beckon. The current administration is pushing the country down the one leading to more government activism, more government solutions. I hope to convince you that this involves a dangerous delusion about government competence and power and that the other road, the one that leads to less government is the way to go." She says it is not easy for her to say this because she has always believed in government having a "comprehensive, detailed, and activist policy." But she says that we can only have a healthy economy if we leave people alone. She says "that advice goes double when a big bad event hits the economy." At that time we especially must discipline ourselves to not turn to government.
She says, "I think my argument is a strong one. I also know that the difficulties in convincing you are not only with the message, but also with the fact that this is a book about economics." She goes on to challenge the reader to read her anyway even though they may think economics is dull and difficult.
She gives some good advice that the Unificationists should support. "Regulation," she says, "however meritorious the goal" reduce productivity ....Thus, although the idea of having a powerful, helpful, and adept government to take care of problems as they arise is a comforting one, it is a delusion. And a dangerous delusion, in part, because relying on the government to respond to every glitch unsettles the economic environment." She teaches that "we should have confidence in free markets. This is a rather schoolmarmish reminder, but the failure of communism has settled the debate over which is better -- free markets or managed ones .... he short and long of it is we should be ready to accept less government and more responsibility .... we should be willing to explore opportunities, take risks, absorb failure, and stop running to the government to fix things that we think fall short of perfect."
She livens her book with examples of real life situations to show how damaging government regulators are when they show up to guide people's lives. I wish I had the space to go into some of these real life stories that bring to life the hell people go through because of meddling bureaucrats. The book Inquisition is a classic story of government regulators doing massive harm to good and decent people. All this regulation of "bureaucrats with the power to direct events has been the near suffocation of everyday activity for many businesspeople, especially those with small firms."
Jose Ortega Y Gasset wrote in 1922, "This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention, the absorption of all spontaneous social effort by the State; that is to say, of spontaneous historical action, which in the long-run sustains, nourishes and impels human destinies."
George Roche in Legacy of Freedom wrote that the nineteenth century understood the need for a "blend of political stability and economic and social progress made possible through the diffusion and localization of power .... The papers of the Founding Fathers, especially The Federalist, are filled with approval of popular rule, so long as that popular rule is locally oriented."
In the nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty is devoted to the defense of "one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control .... That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any one of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant." Unfortunately, the 20th century has not believed in this "simple principle."