Individualism and the Nanny State

“It profits me but little, after all, that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquility of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life.”

Alexis de Tocqueville

While talking to an old friend on the phone recently, he mentioned that now that he was retired he was planing to do volunteer work and “Give something back to society.” Later that night I got to thinking about what he said about “Giving something back to society” and just what that means today. The man has worked for 40 years, paid taxes, served in the military, an active member of his church, was never arrested, supported a family and raised five children. He has been the perfect citizen and family man and in my view has no reason to believe he needs to give anything back. I realized the phrase “To give something back to society” is never used in regard to the unproductive in society or the entitlement entrenched. It therefore is a Liberal/Progressive guilt ridden phrase suggesting you obtained something more than you deserve at the expense of the poor. It is used to coerce through guilt the productive members of society to further support the nanny state through established programs and other means. By having unpaid volunteers sustain and expand these programs it relieves politicians from taking responsibility (and blame) for passing legislation and additional taxes in order to expand them. A perfect example of this is passing laws to have high school students do “Manatory Volunteering” in order to graduate. While being a worthwhile endeavor, it is hardly having them do it of their own free will and in fact trends toward indentured servitude. Nothing is learned and little accomplished either morally or literally by making them appear for volunteer work they don’t wish to perform.

Politicians today tend to forget that our government was founded as a limited government with outlined duties and checks and balances. The Progressives try to enlarge government by humanizing it and making it care and feel concern over our well being. In reality the general will takes preference over the individual needs and the political power wielded to determine what the general will needs takes preference over everything. The Liberal/Progressive nanny state has taken over responsibilities that were done in America for the first one hundred and fifty years by family members, the church and local charities. By government doing so not only moral respect for these areas of society suffered but their finances suffered when government ran it’s own protection racket replacing them. When it serves their purpose the same Liberals who are secular and in favor of separation of church and state will try framing the arguement in religious terms by citing “Isn’t the religious right in favor of aid to the needy?,” thus putting us on the defensive. There is nothing religious nor charitable when your ulterior motive is to create a bureaucratic nanny state which wields power and yields funds at the discretion of a few through legalized coercion of the productive. But then some leaders of the current administration think “It’s patriotic to pay taxes” in order that this slavery of an entire class can continue and therefore justifying their existence in office.

The source generally given to justify this massive intervention of government is the interpretation of the “General Welfare” clause of the Constitution. An article by John C. Eastman of the Heritage Foundation entitled “Enough is Enough: Why General Welfare Limits Spending” describes the three different views of this clause during the founding of our nation. Alexander Hamilton supported an expansive spending power during the Constitutional Convention but it was opposed by the Convention as well as many of the founders. Hamilton reasoned that the only limits on the tax and spend power were the requirements that duties be uniform, that direct taxes be apportioned by population, and that no tax be laid on articles exported from any state. The power to raise money was otherwise “plenary and indefinite.” he argued, “and the objects to which it may be appropiated are no less comprehensive.” James Madison argued that the power to tax and spend did not confer upon Congress the right to do whatever it thought to be in the best interest of the nation but only to further the ends specifically mentioned elsewhere in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 a view supported by Thomas Jefferson. The differing views of the scope of federal power was a principal ground on which the 1800 presidential election between Jefferson and John Adams was fought. After Jefferson won the election, except for a brief period during the presidency of John Quincy Adams, the more restrictive interpretation of spending powers were used by every president until the Civil War. The third interpretation was supported by President James Monroe who contended that the Congressional limitation be “to purposes of common defence, and of general national welfare and not for any specific local, state or regional benefit. As with many issues in today’s society the modern day interpretation on the spending clause begins with the depression and FD.R.’s New Deal. In the 1936 case of the United States vs Butler, both sides relied on the Hamilton view, however, the Hamilton view adopted by the court was not the expansive view that Congress could do whatever it deemed to be in the publics interest but the much more limited view advocated by James Monroe. Since that time the courts have treated it as a political question and Congress has had free rein.

The Constitution wasn’t set up to micro-manage every aspect of government but to provide a framework for establishing a government. Government is a necessary evil because man is flawed but without the checks and balances provided in the Constitution, government can usurp liberty. The duties of Congress are clearly defined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. It should do no more lest liberty be endangered. It should do no less else anarchy ensue.

  • Bill Hedges

    What’s next, genetic engineering. Proposed marriage couples submit their genes for compatability. For possible children heath issues by such a union. Those who carry bad genes, sterilization to marry. Unauthorized children, extermination. You can smoke pot, but cigarettes carry a three year sentence in jail mandatory. Fat, GitMo. Don’t want to work, raise tax on rich.

    Could happen if Supreme Court rules in favor of obamacare. Death panel will see to it that all legal & illegal Americans get health care. Care ??? By THEIR wishes. Not by written agreement. obama knows we can not pay the cost of heart transplants for all “present” in America that need them. Let alone enough Doctors and support teams to preform them. Death Panel will determine your WORTHINESS.

  • Bill Hedges

    I know his reaction to this.

    “An American Hero”

    “FOLKS: All my life I’ve felt privileged to have had good friends around me, privileged to have been able to do the kind of work I know and love the best, and to have been born in a country whose immense beauty and grandeur are matched only by the greatness of her people.”

    “For a number of years I have tried to express a deep and profound love for these things; to be able to say what I feel in my heart. And, now, in this album, I’ve had the chance to do so. I know most of you feel the same as I do about our country.”

    “Now and then we gripe about some of her imperfections, but sometimes that’s good. Especially if it gets us working together to make things better.”

    “It seems to me we often take too much for granted, and have a tendency to forget The Good Things About America.”

    “My hope and prayer is that everyone know and love our country for what she really is and what she stands for. May we nurture her strengths, and strengthen her weaknesses so she will be, that she will always be,”

    “Land Of The Free, and Home Of The Brave.”


    John Wayne