The List

One of the things I’ve often heard in response to my rants about federal power grabs and and the exploding size of the federal government is a question both utterly tangential to whatever the topic of discussion might be and overtly smug in its basic premise. It is a question designed to make the statist appear to be the more grounded in reality, the more centered in his opinions, the more stable in his mental approach to life.

At the same time, it is a question designed to make those who believe in liberty and personal freedoms look foolish. It is purposefully calculated to cast the small government advocate as a crazy, deranged, raving mad man. It is crafted such that any attempt to answer it, serves only to shroud the respondent in a cloak usually worn by the doomsday prophets standing on a street corner, or on the steps to a public gathering place holding their cardboard signs with the hand printed letters predicting the end of the world. It is a not so subtle way of pointing a finger and shouting, “This man is a raving lunatic!”

What have you lost?

The question? “What have you ever lost that is directly attributable to the Federal Government?” The words may be some variation, but the overall sentiment is always the same: the government has our best interests at heart. Our government is not some humongous ogre looking for small little people to crush and you, small government advocate are ranting about inconsequential things that have absolutely no impact on your life as a private citizen.

A partial list

I have decided that my first article for the Unofficial View for 2014 will be to begin iterating my list. At the moment, the entries are sorted only in the order that my brain communicates effectively to my fingers, and then my fingers follow those instructions and strike the correct keys on the keyboard. I may eventually sort them in order of priority, but that will have to wait for another article.

Lost income. Since 1974, the federal government has confiscated an ever increasing percentage of my personal income. According to the Social Security Administration’s website, my “contribution” (silly me, I always thought a contribution was voluntary) started out at just under 5%; Every two or three years since then until 1990, the percentage that the federal government apportioned itself increased until that number is now over 6%. The same percentage is required from my employer(s) on my behalf. My behalf, but not my benefit. The monies that I have paid are for the benefit of others who retired years ago.

While we’re on the subject of Social Security, now would probably be a good time to add that the system is broken, and the fund is broke. So, in addition to the lost income that I have been forced to surrender, by the time I retire, I may have lost all, or most, of the promised benefits for participating in the government’s shell game in the first place. Because it has not happened yet, I suppose it would not really be fair of me to include it as an actual list item. You can consider that as me just pissing and moaning and not an actual part of this list.

Lost time.

For nearly twenty years, mid 70’s until 1995, the maximum speed limit on the nation’s freeways was 55mph—imposed by the US Congress. Clearly a matter best left to the states themselves, but Congressional grift-resentatives accept no bounds on their attempts to control our lives.

Don’t even get me started on the amount of time lost in attempting to file my own income taxes over the last few decades.

Lost thunder.

I have lost the ability to buy another 1978 Ford Thunderbird. Not necessarily the car itself (here in Arizona, there are still a few around), but the whole concept of personal choice in buying a vehicle. Federal regulations dictating mpg, and emissions and how quickly crash test dummies must be engulfed in discharged airbags and myriad other rules, stipulations and bureaucratic regimentation now determine most of what goes into a vehicle.

Lost choices.

The incandescent light bulb is dead. Because of federal regulations, I can no longer choose the kind of light that I prefer to work, read, watch TV with or throw away the no-longer-functioning bulbs for. Have you seen the directions for
disposing of a CFL? Because of the mercury content, a material designated by the federal government as environmentally hazardous, you cannot, according to federal law, simply throw them away. And for gods’ sake, don’t ever break one!

Most recently, we have lost the freedom to choose what health coverage we want and what works best for our individual families. Some (4-5 million some) have lost the choice of health care they were repeatedly assured they could keep if they wanted to. There are more of those “some” to follow. Possibly as high as 70 to 80 million Americans once the employer paid insurance plans start coming up for renewal.

Lost anchor.

Under the current president, the concept of American citizens having equality under the law has been replaced by executive fiat, by rampant cronyism, by attempts to legislate outcomes, and by a blatant disregard for the Constitution. When enforcement of the law rests on the whims of politicians and is determined by the direction the political winds are blowing, no one is safe from tyranny. Political fortunes change. Parties in power get supplanted. Today’s favored become tomorrow’s outcasts. In a country such as this, founded on the ideals this country was founded on—those of individual liberty and responsibility—the subverting of the Constitution cannot be allowed to continue.

After nearly 1200 words, it appears my list is just getting started. There might even be a whole series of articles forthcoming on this topic.

I can hear the response now. “But those are all trivial things. None of that directly affects you any more than they affect anybody else.” Except we weren’t talking about anybody else; we were talking about me and what I feel I’ve lost due to federal government interference. Trivial or not, this is my list.

And one more point. A loss of freedom, no matter how currently inconsequential it may be, is never trivial. Bit by bit, and sometimes in great chunks, we’re giving our liberty away. Sooner or later, Lost liberty will be an entry on this list.