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"It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office."
H. L. Mencken
Politicians would never try to mislead us would they? The American People deserve honesty from their government; but one would be hard-pressed to prove that, in practice, we receive anything but the opposite. To be clear, when I refer to our government, I don't mean the Party in power at the moment, but instead, I am referring to the institution of the federal government itself, which has cheated us, wasted our money, conquered nations, and lied to us, no matter which party has held the reins.
Lying may be the lifeblood of politics, but sometimes it gets so obvious and so absurd, that I just can't let it go. To some every-day famous promises ("I'll call you," "You'll have your money next week," and "I'll be there at seven!"), we can add a whole slew of false statements made by politicians over the past century. Here's just a few of them:
- The income tax will never go above 6 percent.
- Saddam Hussein definitely has WMDs.
- The Democrats are the Anti-War Party.
- US Troops will be in Bosnia for just one year at the most.
- The Civil War was fought to end slavery.
- Bill Clinton was a man of peace.
- Social Security will always be our safety-net, and the tax will be only 2 percent.
- The Drug War will reduce drug usage and crime in America.
- Federal aid to education will never result in the federal control of education.
- FDR would never send our boys into any foreign wars.
- The PATRIOT Act will only be used against terrorists.
- Bombing Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, and the rest, will strike such a tremendous fear into the hearts of terrorists that they'll never bother us again.
- The War on Poverty will reduce poverty in America.
- War with Iraq will only come as a last resort.
- Iraqi oil will pay for an American invasion.
- Republicans will always try to reduce the size of government.
- Democracy is on the March.
I hope that you'll keep this short-list of false government promises in mind when you hear politicians from both sides of the aisle tell you:
- The War on Terrorism will make America safe.
- A national sales tax will be equal and fair for everyone.
- A military draft will help prevent future wars.
- Campaign finance reform will end corruption in politics.
- Gun-control laws will keep guns away from criminals.
- NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and FTAA are free trade agreements.
- Showing your papers will protect you.
- Iran is the world's greatest threat.
The politicians making these statements are no different than those who made the promises in the first list. A casual study of history should have proven to all of us by now, that even if we should ever develop some faith in politicians, we should never believe any of their promises on face value. So long as there are empires, there will always be even larger lies to cover their cruelties.
Where the Problem Lies
The real problem is power. Throughout the world, and throughout history, those who reach a level of power have often times abused it. Our politicians are no different. If we give them too much power, they'll abuse it. Period. Whether they're from one political party or the other, or if they're good people or not doesn't matter one bit. Power given to politicians will always be abused - if not today, then by someone in the future who will take advantage of the extra power we handed to them.
- Drugs and drug crime will only cease to be huge problems once the Drug War is completely ended.
- Government waste will only end when the federal government can no longer tax us.
- Education will be proper for our children only when it's completely out of the hands of politicians.
- You will be safe from terrorism only when our politicians stop trying to run the affairs of other countries.
- Democracy will only be on the march when we tell the government what to do, instead of the other way around.
We all have to realize that there can never be one person who will change the world for us. This is the first step in dealing with the behemoth state that is attacking our liberty daily. But, each one of us can do our part to make sure we don't make the situation worse.
All by its lonesome, the federal government extracts over Two Trillion Dollars from us every single year. Yet, with all this unthinkable wealth, it has been incapable of reducing poverty, improving our schools, preventing 9-11, catching those who perpetrated the attacks, making health care affordable, reducing crime, and so on. Going even further, each year, it passes new laws that make it legal to pry into your life even more.
With all that in mind, the key here is to refuse support for any proposal that would increase the extent, size, or power of the federal government (as virtually every proposal does). Any new power we give the feds today will most likely be abused at some point, and cause us all great harm - either today, or in the future.
The moral of the story is this. If you love the lie, stick to the state as your cover, your comfort, and your resource. But, if you love the truth, you have to find it outside the halls of power. Truth is Freedom, and therefore, truth is, unquestionably, the number one enemy of the State.
It sure is an exciting time to be an enemy of the State; to be someone who says it with honesty. Ben Franklin was right; honesty is indeed the best policy after all. And I do hope that maybe, just maybe, we are moving into a time where the tide against us will finally turn, and that honesty will become a part of our political existence. If The People take the reins from the politicians, there are strong signs that America will move in that direction.
Written by Michael Boldin [send him email], who is an outspoken critic of the American political system, and an editor and contributing writer for PopulistAmerica.com.