On April 15, 2009 Tea Parties protesting the government’s fiscal irresponsibility took place throughout the nation. A second Tea Party is being planned for July 4.
Rejecting socialism, Tea Party participants are acting fundamentally on the principle of individual rights. It is right to earn a living. It is wrong to give our earnings to those who don’t. It is right to benefit from one’s own efforts and actions. It is wrong to “bail out” companies which the government caused to fail in the first place, then make us pay for the government’s mistakes.
Government-created Fannie and Freddie Mae unleashed Barney Frank’s “Affordable Housing” program and pressured banks and insurance companies to give loans and coverage to those who could not afford it. Yet the government claims that capitalism has failed and more government intervention is required. But the present economic system is not capitalism and it is not free.
We live in a “mixed economy”—one with some freedom and many controls. We are still free to start a business, but not free to run it the way we see fit. Government regulations presently control every size business on every level—federal, state and city. We are still free to own some property and visit stores of our choice, but the government controls and regulates virtually every product and service we buy, including entertainment, energy, land, fuel and the air waves.
We have been misinformed about the nature of an economic system that is founded on the individual’s right to his own life, to benefit from his own effort, to dispose of what he earns as he chooses. We have been misled about an economic system that despite continuous government interference has resulted in the creation of the richest nation on earth, filled with the most generous individuals on earth. It is an economic system that has been vilified, maligned, distorted and made the scapegoat of every government failure and disaster caused by government regulation since the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913. That system is capitalism.
“Capitalism,” novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, “is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.”
In a completely free society, the government’s role is solely to protect individual rights. It leaves men free to produce or not as they choose, to work to the best of their ability or not as they choose, to trade with others, to benefit from their own effort, to save and invest and support charities as they choose.
But over many decades government has increasingly violated our rights and eroded our freedom. Today we are seeing the culmination of that erosion in an open assault on individual freedom. Kennedy’s bill, for instance, to make “volunteerism” mandatory for all Americans, from children to seniors, is as flagrant a contradiction in terms as it is a blatant attack on individual rights of life, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
To safeguard the individual and thereby the nation, men must be left free to think and act and work without government controls and regulations. Tea Parties may be the catalyst that will help to shift our country toward a genuinely free and morally sound direction. They may be the beginning of a grass roots movement to tell government to leave us alone. Get out of our lives. Limit government. Protect individual rights. Let us implement a truly free enterprise system of economics. Let us for once practice genuine laissez-faire capitalism.