(Originally published: March 4, 2015)
Slouching Toward Extinction
With all the Cheers and Jeers of C-PAC 2015 fading into Yesterday’s News, let us carpe the diem to add to the growing list of oxymoronic fantasies in desperate need of extinction, a term heard early and often whenever conservatives and libertarians congregate: “Limited Government”. Like “settled science”, the Tooth Fairy and Honest Politicians, not only is there no such thing, there never has been.
The utter nonsense that a piece of parchment, even inscribed with swell ideas, can successfully “limit” the Leviathan, i.e. Big Government has been proven ludicrous for 226 years; considerably longer if we include all recorded human history. Like Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, the Bush and Obama administrations brought to life Government as “a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Constitutional “protection” of our natural rights from Government trampling has morphed from an American ideal fortified by the Rule of Law into a Bad Joke inflicted by the increasing immorality inherent in the leaders of a crumbling empire; a tragedy being acted out in the daily news to an audience that only craves bread and circuses. And cute Budweiser commercials.
“[The] conservative keeps repeating the litany that the central government should be severely limited by a constitution. Yet, at the same time that he rails against the corruption of the original Constitution and the widening of federal power since 1789, the conservative fails to draw the proper lesson from that degeneration. The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances. If it failed then, why should a similar experiment fare any better now?” - For A New Liberty - Murray Rothbard
While I didn’t see a C-PAC Meet-Up to discuss this, it is precisely the question conservatives, Republicans and not a few Libertarians need to reconcile. While any measurable reduction in Rights Violations and Property Confiscation would be welcome from the all-consuming monstrosity languishing inside the Logic Free Zone, with spawn festering in State pustules across the fetid plane, there isn’t enough ganja in the hills of Jamaica to successfully delude one into believing “limited government” could actually happen or be sustained. Individually and collectively, the “governing” gangs of flaming sociopaths are too broke, too desperate to feed their addiction to power and control to ever – ever – entertain the notion of Limited Anything except the Limited Liberty of its constituents servants slaves.
As my friend Walter E. Williams often observes, “There has never been a tyrant who woke one morning and said, ‘Oh, OK – then…let’s try Freedom!”. As proof, “America’s Mayor”, Rudy Giuliani, sporting an “I Heart Winston Smith” button, said in a public speech, sans sarcasm or his notorious knee-slapping humor:
“Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”
Let’s also refresh our mental screens to the simple truths: Government is Force. Force is immoral. Force is anathema to Freedom. To push the belief that “Limited Government” inoculates us, canceling the eventual onslaught of Corrupt Government is to reveal a flaccid grasp of Logic and the English language as well as tacitly agreeing “limited rape” is OK; just poor “technique”.
In the chapter “Why Not Limited Government”, Against the State, Lew Rockwell succinctly points out, “The Constitution creates a government that is the judge of its own powers.” This coincides with a comment often attributed to SCOTUS Justice Scalia “We all get our paychecks from the same place.” Whether the Justice actually made the statement or it’s another Internet myth, the sentiment is noteworthy when using the light of Rockwell’s observation to cast a jaundiced eye toward the tortured reasoning of certain SCOTUS decisions, Legislative skullduggery and blatant Executive scandals that uniquely fortify the interests of Leviathan, loosening Constitutional restraints and eroding the preservation of natural rights. Once in Rogue Mode, every branch of any size Government will turn its monopoly on Force on those it was charged to serve and protect, compelling them to support and preserve its power over their rights.
As Rockwell states “Each person properly has the right to rule over himself, a right no majority can override.” And Rothbard “…the society of absolute self-ownership for all rests on the primordial fact of natural self-ownership by every man…as he exercises his natural freedom of choice…”. While this may have been the essence of what the Founding Dads had conceived with their version of “Limited Government”, when charged with “securing these rights”, it wasn’t long before the sainted Founders fell victim to Lord Acton’s siren song, nudging the fledgling Republic over the edge to begin is slow decent into unavoidable implosion.
If “Limited Government” could actually be achieved, it would necessarily have to come with “Limited Freedom”, “Limited Liberty” and, most importantly, “Limited Success”. As Government is Force and Force is Power, the veracity of Acton’s observation “Power corrupts…” is unassailable and incurable. “Limited Government” would only have Limited Time to achieve Limited Success before beginning its decent into Unlimited Corruption and tyranny.
The unique and pragmatic advantages of Anarcho-Capitalism over such quaint notions as “Limited Government” are revealed and discussed enthusiastically in Lew Rockwell’s “Against The State” which can be read in far less time than it took to endure C-PAC 2015. And way more productive.
There is no government like no government.
No Government; know Peace