Remember when Bill Clinton famously said “the era of Big Government is over?” It seems so long ago, because it was. That was the 1996 State of the Union address – 27 years ago. And Clinton was lying, of course, because government is bigger than ever and it’s not even slowing down in its growth.
What does this title even mean? According to dictionary.com, big government is defined as government that is perceived as excessively interventionist and intruding into all aspects of the lives of its citizens. And since the Chinese Wuhan virus made its way to our shores three years ago, our country has been subjected to exactly what big government looks like.
If you are a fan of big government, you must be happier than a pig in mud. If you are an opponent of big government, you have been watching this morbidly obese, out of control monster grow, while trying to keep the anger and frustration to some sort of healthy level. The Constitution doesn’t grant us freedoms; those come from God. That document which begins with “We the People” merely prohibits government from taking them. “Big government” usually refers to three features of the national or federal government headquartered in Washington DC…
- How much it spends;
- How much it does; and
- How many people it employs.
All three of these are out of control. They need to be reeled in like a steer in a rodeo.
What do we do? How do we do it?
How has the government grown into this hot mess? Our founding fathers made it crystal clear their goal was not what we have today. They knew a smaller and limited government was more effective and meant more freedom for “we the people.”
Thomas Jefferson said, “That government is best which governs least, because its people discipline themselves.”
As patriots, we don’t want “no government.” We do want government, but we want the limited kind. This includes a balanced approach to necessary public services and fiscal responsibility. Neither of these are happening today.
The federal government continues to bail out states that have bad policies. California is a great example of a state with bad policies that is constantly being bailed out by the federal government. Just two years ago the Golden State picked up a $42 billion check from the U.S. Treasury to paper over its failed and disastrous COVID response.
If, perhaps through congressional gridlock, we can limit the abuse of Washington, DC and stop the intrusive meddling into federalism and our individual lives that we have seen since the COVID constitutional crisis, perhaps each state will then take care of its own priorities. The constitutional system is in place for isolating bad public policy at the state level and letting that bad policy run its course until it fails or gets changed.
We know very well here in Louisiana that there is a direct correlation to states losing residents that love big government. Big government also means higher taxes. Most sane people don’t like paying high taxes. I didn’t say no tax, remember, we don’t want “no government,” we just want the limited kind.
What we clearly don’t want is what we’ve had in Louisiana – both an overreaching federal government and a state with draconian mandates and lockdown measures during the COVID experience. That’s a terrible combination, and the numbers prove it. Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows Louisiana ranked fifth among states for numeric decline in the population between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022, losing 36,857 residents in that time. The only states that lost more people in the same time frame were New York, California, Illinois and Massachusetts, all of which are far larger than Louisiana.
What do all of these states have in common? Democrat governors (or, in Massachusetts’ case, a RINO Republican indistinguishable from a Democrat) who love big government. It’s hard to believe that Louisiana is ranked in the top five with these other deep-blue states, but look at how all of them handled COVID. The politicians of these states didn’t trust their adult citizens to make health-based decisions for themselves. We even shut down gyms and gave citizens incentives to get COVID shots with free doughnuts and happy meals.
I’ll write about how processed food and sugar are slowly killing us and how big government contributes to this in a later post, but we found out a lot about how much our big-government-addicted leaders actually care for us when they locked us out of Planet Fitness and the churches but not the casinos and liquor stores.
People love freedom and the statistics show that a whole lot of us will seek it, even if it means U-Haul rentals. Our best and brightest are leaving Louisiana to find liberty and the prosperity it brings. And not coincidentally, they’re moving to states that did the opposite of what Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, California and Illinois did during the COVID constitutional crisis.
I could list a few dozen examples of draconian policy mistakes, but for the sake of time, I will list two.
First, there are some high schools in this state that belong to the MAIS for athletic purposes (Midsouth Association of Independent Schools). These schools in the fall of 2020 were able to leave Louisiana and go play football in the state of Mississippi. It seemed like the COVID virus would stop at the state line and remain in Louisiana and didn’t travel with the team as it left the state. The LHSAA and the governor were playing the blame game on why high school football hadn’t started in Louisiana. There was a serious lack of leadership and still is for that matter, but I digress. If it hadn’t been for several local moms who threw a fit and scared the hell out of our lockdown-lizard politicians, I am convinced there would have been no high school football season in 2020. It was utter lunacy.
Example 2 was that we couldn’t go to church. In my opinion, if there is a nuclear war going on, and my pastor is willing to preach, and I am willing to drive, who is the government to tell me that I cannot go and he can’t preach? But that nonetheless happened here in Louisiana and across the country in 2020. We even had the most famous case, which was fairly well documented here at the Hayride; it involved Baton Rouge pastor Tony Spell, who told the governor and his minions where they could get off.
Just in case you need a refresher, the First Amendment provides that Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The five freedoms it protects: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. This is crystal clear to most logical thinking citizens. Am I missing something? Why couldn’t the parents decide if they wanted to let their son play football? Why couldn’t we go to church?
The answer is big government. COVID was only an excuse.
Most people think of the federal government when they hear the phrase “big government,” and that’s mostly true.
But the fact is, as said above the U.S. Constitution protects our God-given rights from government. It doesn’t grant those rights to us as citizens. This is perhaps the most widely misunderstood aspect of our system of government, and if you believe that we are given fundamental rights by Uncle Sam, you may have a mindset to seek additional favors from the government. That isn’t a sin, it just means you are a lover of big government.
But if that is you, I have a question for you. If the government grants all good things, what is stopping someone from thinking of more good things that could and should be granted by our elected leaders? And where does that end other than with a bankrupted treasury and the enslavement of the people tasked with providing you the goodies you seek? Because at some point it’s going to cost more money to provide those bennies than Uncle Sam has to pay for them, and only the coercive and confiscatory power of government are left to prop up supply.
Liberty was the ultimate goal of our Founders. Liberty is defined as freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control. Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc… Freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: Our founders were willing to die for Liberty.
How many things are you willing to die for today? To borrow the famous words of Patrick Henry “…give me liberty or give me death,” but give me no more of big government. We’ve got far too much already.