Lanterns: My Conservative Vision


My Conservative Vision

I have written a number of articles which deal mostly with the Constitution and the founding ideals of this country. I try to educate people on various aspects of liberty and how the original trajectory of our country allowed us to realize that goal and how we are veering away. There has been a centuries-long debate on the subject of liberty in western society, and in our case, that knowledge culminated in the revolution of the colonies and subsequent creation of our country.

Our country is a miracle. It is a miracle created by people who understood what the price of liberty truly was. It was the perfect storm of historical education mated with tyrannical acts and comingled with an unabiding desire to be free. We took on the biggest military force at the time and won against all odds. We then created a nation along the principles we fought for.

Imagine where we could be if we had stuck to those principles.

What I will describe is a partial look at what I call my "conservative vision." I formulated what I think our society could become if we made the effort to do so. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the "to-do" items that need to occur. I will cover some themes that seem to be presently popular. These core principles manifest themselves into ideas and action when applied to a specific situation.

The first item which I support every day is education. When people again understand the founding principles of this country and the significance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we can begin moving our country back in its correct direction. When people once again understand that we, the people, created government to protect our rights and that only a limited government can accomplish that goal, then we can start addressing the real problems we face as a nation. Without a grassroots upswell of support for our founding ideals, the challenges we face will never be solved.

The rise of the administrative state has had made the biggest impact on the loss of prosperity we have witnessed as a people. What I see in a conservative utopia is all business, financial, and health "services" handled by Washington moved back to the states. The elimination of agencies such as the EPA, BLM, the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy are unnecessary. Not only are they unconstitutional by definition, i.e.- they are not enumerated powers, but by allowing the states to take over will make the system much more efficient and manageable.

Imagine if the state was responsible solely for the cleanliness it maintains. Gone would be the days of the states pointing to the feds and vice versa when a problem occurs. If something happened, the citizens of the state would all know who was responsible and look to people in their own state to fix the problem. If our government doesn't deliver then it is much easier to unseat a sitting state representative or senator then a federal one. It is much easier to get changes at a state level than at the federal especially if more people are focused locally which would be the case if there was no federal involvement.

Business regulation would also be eliminated at the federal level. We are all guaranteed a right to peaceably assemble. A job is a superior peaceable assemblage. You get paid for it. All of this would be handled at the state and local level. As with most agencies, the states already have in place a mechanism to handle the work needed to be performed. The states could cater to the people that inhabited the state. It would allow the great experiment we started to continue.

The original idea was each state was an experiment in liberty. They were sovereign entities. They are charged with the bulk of power to making society work.The citizens of each state decide how they want to live. As states prosper because of their decisions, people move there to reap the benefits. Good ideas are copied by others to remain competitive. Less successful intrigues are avoided or manipulated to work. Instead of the top-down pressure to conform which stifles innovation and liberty, we, the people, pursue happiness without federal government interference. This is the America we need to return.

Another bonus of eliminating Washington D.C. control of our lives is the vast savings that will occur by eliminating the most wasteful levels of government. One extraordinarily large layer of bureaucracy would be eliminated. By avoiding this pit of corruption, abuse, and malfeasance, we would have more money to spend at the local level. Money leaves our state only to be returned with strings attached. Eliminating the EPA alone would free up 8 billion per year and over 17,000 employees will no longer be eligible for a government pension at taxpayer expense. That is just one agency among hundreds that need to be eliminated. The savings would be astoundingly mind-boggling and wonderous.

Along with the idea of shrinking the administrative state is to eliminate the income tax. The concept that our federal government needs to tax us to operate is ludicrous. When we were first born as a nation, the whole of federal government fit into one building. There were only three departments originally authorized—  State, Treasury, and War. There were no other agencies in play. Our government was instituted when there were roughly 4 million citizens. Now we have a federal government exceeding 2,700,000 people employed directly. Imagine the extraordinary savings that will befall the American people when most of these people are let go. We could easily pass the savings on to the people by eliminating the IRS and the 16th Amendment.

To ensure we control our own monetary supply, the elimination of the Federal Reserve, in addition to making Congress take back their rightfully delegated power is a must.  "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin" is the power delegated to Congress. They cannot simply delegate that power out to another entity without an amendment. That would be, by definition, unconstitutional. This is the significance of Article 1 Section 8 Clause 5 which I linked above. By eliminating the interest on the debt, it would be much simpler to pay down the debt. The idea of a private corporation controlling our monetary system strikes me as un-American. The name "Federal Reserve" is very misleading. So is its purpose. Our federal government has specific tasks that they should focus on and leave the rest to the states.

Another topic that needs some discussion is private property ownership. The idea we must pay the state to live there is tyrannical. It is ingrained in most people, however. Who do you think owns your home? it isn't you. If you think so, then stop paying property tax for a few years and you will realize who really owns it. Try to make a major repair or renovation without a permit and see who owns your property. Try to go "off grid" like a lady in Coral Gables did and see who owns your property. The idea that if you become destitute that you lose your house to the state is repulsive to those of us who understand liberty.  It may be that some states don't operate like this. All that I have researched do, but I have not studied all 50 states to confirm. Private property ownership is the backbone of a free society. Once we understand and implement this simple ideal we will have a better nation.

A simple change that would have far-reaching consequences would be the elimination of the 17th Amendment. The original idea of state legislators picking their Senators gave the states a seat at the federal table. The Senators represented the states. We, the people, already have representation in the House. This is an important aspect of federalism that was eliminated and shown to be detrimental to the long-term viability of our nation. It is an easy fix that would help to diminish the overbearing stance of the federal government of today.

The last topic I will discuss is an idea that is much older than our country. It is an idea that is the foundation of our common law traditions and laws. It is the idea that there can only be a crime if there is a victim. Tyranny is built upon arbitrary laws. When we allow ourselves to trade liberty for security then we have lost. Only when someone's rights have been violated has a crime occurred. The rest is what we call liberty. Liberty is doing what you want as long as you infringe on no one else's rights.

Take traffic tickets, for example. Typically, these infringements don’t hurt anyone else. It is true that you may have an increased chance of causing harm, but no harm is found in the act itself. The true liberty application of these laws is to give tickets to only those people who actually infringe on another's rights. If you're involved in an accident and were speeding, you get a ticket for both. If you ran a red light and smacked into someone then you get a ticket. The idea of preemption, that you get a ticket for something that affected no one else, is an idea that invariably leads to abuse. Red light cameras are the epitome of this thought.

Drug use comes to mind along these lines also. A person who uses "illegal" drugs or too much of a "legal" drug is arrested by authorities. Who has been harmed by their actions? Them? Maybe. But they are not a victim. They made a choice which affected no one else nor infringed on anyone's rights. The simple act of puffing on a plant in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to jail. How are anyone else's rights infringed if a person gets high?

Now sure, if they go and drive and get into an accident then there is a problem. You could add the driving while impaired charges rightfully at that time. If you truly think that drug use is a problem ask yourself this—  how is sending a person to jail and giving them a criminal record any type of assistance with their problem? This goes back to the idea of trading liberty for security. It is a very slippery slope.

It is liberty that our Founders bequeathed to us. The ability to follow your dreams wherever they may lead. The idea you can do what you want so long as you don't infringe on anyone else's rights. The idea that each person is best suited to determine how they should live their lives. The idea that government exists to protect our rights.

Does it create equality? Far from it. But it invariably creates prosperity where even the poorest among us live better than most of the rest of the world. It creates a society where people helping people can occur with regularity because of the abundance that is unleashed. Minimum wages? Poppycock! Income tax? Balderdash! Inheritance tax? Rubbish! Liberty is where it is at. We have already proven where it can take us. It’s time to get back on the path and truly move our society forward. Patriots Awake!!!

Written by Frank Caprio

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