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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

Liberty Is The Issue
Good government is less government...

[Ray Haynes] 9/28/04

A question is raised every election—what is the most important issue facing this state and this country. Sometimes the politicians say it is education or crime or health care or taxes. It isn’t. The question in every election is always—what is the proper role of government? Discussions about the details of that question may predominate in an election, but the role of government versus the role of liberty underlies every election.

Some leftist politicians talk about liberty, but they think the role of liberty in society is to make sure that everyone can engage in any sexual practice they wish without consequence, look at pornography, lie about Republicans in the press under the guise of freedom of the press, and take drugs anytime they want. On any other question about the role of government, however, the leftists in our state and country default to the position of increasing the role of government.

These areas, however, are at the periphery of the debate over liberty versus government. We have given over so much of our life to government controls that we no longer recognize intrusions on liberty when they are occurring.

The question of liberty comes down to one question—When should we do something for ourselves, and when should government intercede?

Should government take care of us or should we take steps ourselves to protect our futures? We rely on government for welfare, for health care, for old age pensions, and for disability payments. We could use the money government takes from us for those purposes ourselves, to create programs very similar to those now provided by the government at a much lower cost. Instead we pay for huge bureaucracies, welfare fraud, and government abuse for limited, inadequate, government-financed welfare, health care, and social security. Could we do a better job protecting ourselves and our future than a Washington or Sacramento bureaucrat?

Should government prevent us from insuring our own safety? The right to own guns puts the law-abiding citizen on the same ground as the criminals and the police. If the police are late to a crime, law-abiding citizens can protect themselves from a gun-toting criminal. Should government make those citizens criminals?

Should government raise our children? Parents everywhere know what is best for their child, but government takes billions from those moms and dads to pay for a huge education bureaucracy that is doing a mediocre job of educating those kids. If parents had control of that money, instead of the bureaucrats in Sacramento and Washington, do you think that the kids would be better or worse off?

Should government tell us how best to feed our family? Today, there are thousands of rules, regulations, taxes, permits, fees, and bureaucrats telling business owners and workers how to deal with each other. We are told when we can work, how we should work, how much we get paid, how we can run our business, ad nauseum. Do you think two people could sit down like adults and work out their pay and working conditions to their mutual satisfaction without the approval of some government official?

There is always a good excuse for government. In a free society, however, the default position ought to be liberty. There should be real, physical harm to people before government intrudes into private decision-making, whether that decision is how to run your business, how best to feed your family, how best to raise your children, how to protect yourself, or how to prepare for your own future.

If we all asked, before we voted, how would this politician promote liberty, we might start getting politicians who care about protecting liberty. That would be good for California, and it would definitely be good for our country. CRO


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