Ask the average person their opinion of politicians. You'll hear words like crooks, hustlers, and tyrants. The difference between American opinion of politicians and people elsewhere is that the word murderers might be added to their opinions. The reason for this dim assessment of politicians is that in all societies its scum, but with few exceptions, tends to rise to the top. Let's look at it.
People want government to do all manner of things, things that if done privately would lead to condemnation and jail sentences. Some want government to give money to farmers, poor folk, college students, senior citizens and businesses. There's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy. The only way government can give money to one person is to forcibly take it from another person. If I privately used the same method to raise money for a "deserving" college student, homeless person or businessman, I'd face theft charges. Others among us want government to protect wild wolves, bears and the Stephens kangaroo rat even if it results in gross violations of private property and loss of lives.
The problem is that some people disagree having their earnings being taken to satisfy someone else's wish. They don't want the Corps of Engineers and Fish and Wildlife Service dictating to them as to what they can and cannot do with their property to insure a habitat for the kangaroo rat. Force and threats must be used.
Here's the question: could the average American kill a person who resolutely refuses to give up his earnings so Congress can give it to farmers? Could you kill a person who insists on using all of his property, even though some wolves have set up a den on it? You say, "What do you mean Williams - kill?" Here's a scenario: the Corps of Engineers commands me not to remove debris from a drainage ditch on my property, placed there by beavers building a dam, because the debris created a wetland. I remove it anyway. The Corps of Engineers fines me. I refuse to pay the unjust fine. The Corps of Engineers threatens to seize my land. I say no they're not; it's my land and I'll protect it. A politician sends marshals to take it and I get killed defending it.
Few Americans have the stomach or ruthlessness to do what is necessary to make their governmental wishes come true. They are willing to abandon constitution principles and rule of law so that those with the stomach for ruthlessness have the tools of massive central government power to achieve those wishes.
The path we're embarked upon, in the name of good, is a familiar one. The unspeakable horrors of Nazism, Stalinism and Maoism did not begin in the 30s and 40s with the men usually associated with those names. Those horrors were simply the end result of long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the name of "social justice." It was decent but misguided Germans, who would have cringed at the thought of extermination and genocide, who built the Trojan Horse for Hitler to take over.
We Americans promote disrespect for our Constitution, rule of law and private property in our pursuit of "social justice." But the scum that rises to the top have an agenda of command and control that's leading toward totalitarianism. And, incidentally, it's no coincidence that most of those at the top are lawyers - people with a special, seemingly tutored, contempt for our Constitution and rule of law.
Walter E. Williams
July 21, 1995
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