A lot of Americans know that the US government is out of control. Anyone who has cared enough to study the US Constitution even a little knows this. Still, very few of these people are taking any significant action, and largely because of one error: They are waiting for “the good guys” to show up and fix things.
Some think that certain groups of politicians will pull it together and fix things, or that one magnificent politician will ride in to fix things. Others think that certain members of the military will step in and slap the politicians back into line. And, I’m sure there are other variations.
There are several problems with this. I’ll start with the small issues:
During a commencement address at The Ohio State University, President Barack Obama praised government, played down the role of the individual, and urged students to reject the voices of tyranny.
“We, the people, chose to do these things together — because we know this country cannot accomplish great things if we pursue nothing greater than our own individual ambition,” President Obama told graduating students. “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works.”
“They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner,” he continued. “You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
The shot against “individual ambition” is ironic because President Obama himself is the defintion of that term. He was an Illinois state senator who gave a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Later that year, he was elected to the United States Senate. By 2007, he was campaigning full-time for his party’s presidential nomination, which he won in 2008, and would subsequently be elected president.
If that doesn’t define ambition, what does? That’s not a shot against him, by the way. President Obama’s personal story is one that should be admired. The problem with him, of course, is the policies he pushes, which leads us to the next point.
Sometimes, I just shake my head at the ignorance. I mean, it must require a certain willful stupidity to put your head in the sand and believe that government can make all the bad men stop.
Right now, the left is trying to figure out how to destroy our freedoms in an effort to curb future terrorist acts like the Boston Marathon bombing. Now, the irony of how they bucked at the right’s efforts after 9/11 isn’t exactly lost on me. However, that’s something to chuckle about later…after we stop this kneejerk reaction and undo the Right’s kneejerk reactions from the last decade.
Over at ThinkProgress.org, they’re already wringing their hands at the idea of restricting various kinds of powder such as black powder, smokeless powder, and whatever the hell it is they put in fireworks:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a hot commodity right now in the conservative movement. With his focus on free markets, constitutional foreign policy, and the protection of civil liberty, Paul stands out among potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders. He certainly has a long path to take to the nomination, but the seeds for such an effort have clearly been laid over the past several months.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal noted how Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster last month against CIA nominee John Brennan, is trying to turn the noterity and conversation he’s started into a national movement. The significant platform that he’s been building is one that could propel him to forefront of the Republican Party, shatter conventional wisdom about conservatives in the mainstream media, and attract new voters.
But not everyone is a fan of the role Paul has played recently. In the same Wall Street Journal article, Rick Santorum, a former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and a 2012 presidential candidate, lashed out at Paul and his views:
“Rand Paul’s brand doesn’t line up with all of what our party stands for—on national security, social values, the economy and the role of government in society,” said former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum. “His message won’t ultimately lead us to be a more successful party.”
One of the most interesting debates in American politics is taking place right now inside the conservative movement. There has been a lot of focus on the shellacking Republicans took at the ballot box in 2012. Some are saying that the losses happened because conservatives have grown in influence, while others point out that Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in the last cycle, didn’t present a strong agenda.
Among those in the conservative movement who has been part of this debate is Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who is in the middle of his first term in the upper chamber. Along with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lee has been among those who are not only working to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, but also a strong voice for the rights and liberties that are guaranteed in the Constitution.
Too often, conservatives are known for their opposition to various policies proposed by the Obama Administration. This has helped the Democrats and the media define them as being the “party of ‘no.’” Instead of focusing on opposition, Lee, who was elected as part of the “Tea Party class” in the 2010 mid-term, presented what he called the “positive case for conservatism” by talking about “what conservatives are for.”
Lee began his speech by noting that both Republicans and Democrats “succumb to easy negativity” and that the gridlock in Washington makes for fodder in the media. Lee explained that this “helps explain why the federal government is increasingly held in such low regard by the American people.”
This isn’t exactly a surprise since he’s made some high-profile speeches and interviews over the last several months and engaged in a well-covered 13-hour filibuster last month that was the talk of Washington, DC, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) confirmed what most of us already knew — that he is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016:
Tea Party favorite and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he is strongly considering a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, announcing plans to travel to at least three key primary states this summer.
“We’re considering it,” he said at a morning newsmaker breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Paul, heir to his father former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian voting and fundraising base, said that he is already planning to visit three early primary states this summer — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And Paul said he “will continue to travel to the early primary states.”
Do you live in a free state? This question would receive a variety of answers because, after all, the 50 states make up our Union each have their own versions and views on freedom.
Politicians on the “left coast” view freedom as “freedom from want,” which is why they have set in place a vast — and costly — welfare state and burdensome regulatory policies. The north isn’t too dissimilar, especially with its emphasis on nanny state policies.
States that comprise the “libertarian west” and the south tend to have fiscally conservative-leanings and the approach toward personal liberty is, while not great on every issue, generally much less regulated.
So how do you determine if you live in a free state? The Mercatus Center has released its annual report, Freedom in the 50 States, which serves as a guide to weigh various aspects of freedom — fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom.
The authors of the report, William Ruger and Jason Sorens, explained their findings yesterday and concluded that states that clamp down on freedoms are seeing people leave for states with more freedom.
“The more a state denies people their freedoms, increases their taxes or passes laws that make it hard for businesses to hire and fire, the more likely they are to leave,” wrote the authors of the report. “And while there’s clearly more to life than drinking oversized beverages and eating foie gras, the states that won’t allow you to often cause trouble for their residents in other ways.”
In case you missed it, here’s video of Sen. Mike Lee’s from CPAC with the full text below. I sat down with Sen. Lee earlier this week for a discussion about his role in Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster, the push in the Senate to defund ObamaCare, and much more. You can check that out here.
Here’s the full text of Sen. Lee’s speech:
Up in the Pacific Northwest two brothers, Billy and Bobby, decided that they would sell apples. They set up a small fruit stand on the side of a busy road then drove their old pickup out to the farmer’s orchard, where they purchased a truckload of apples at a price of one dollar an apple. They returned to their stand and began selling their apples –for the head-scratching, bargain price of… one dollar an apple.
On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) made a historic stand filibustering the nomination of John Brennan over the federal government’s claim that it has the right to kill Americans on American soil, redefining “imminence,” “battlefield,” and “war” in general. The nation tuned in to see what I consider to be the most courageous political act in modern American history.
The #StandWithRand hashtag exploded on Twitter, and Rand Paul was ultimately joined by fourteen others in his filibuster: in order, Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Jerry Moran, Ron Wyden (a Democrat), Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn, John Barasso, Ron Johnson, John Thune, Jeff Flake, Tim Scott, and Mitch McConnell (the Minority Leader). Every Senator who joined Rand Paul should be congratulated as they gave him both physical and political strength to go longer, and therein make a HUGE stride in advancing the Freedom Movement.
The liberty movement is in the midst of a much needed conversation over its future. While not a new conversation, it is one that has been recently reignited thanks to Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty and Glenn Beck.
Over the past few years, the liberty movement has seen tremendous growth, thanks largely to Ron Paul, who has been able to lure a number of conservatives into the liberty movement. As a result, libertarianism has grown in popularity as more people begin to understand the basic tenets of the philosophy — including free markets and individual liberty. However, there are some in our movement who don’t seem to want the message to spread to those who may not fully share all of our ideas.
Yesterday, Glenn Beck helped further along this conversation, inviting Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation, Zachary Slayback of Students for Liberty, and Jack Hunter to discuss libertarianism and the future of the movement.
Beck asked the trio how to get people interested in libertarianism when the perception is that those who follow the philosophy want so much change so quickly.
“Politically, you can’t get from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ without there being an in-between,” said Hunter in response. “‘B’ being the ideal political world we would like and ‘A’ where we are now. There’s going to be some messiness in between. That’s just human nature — that’s the way it’s got to be.
“You have to start where people are and work towards liberty in a practical sense,” he added.