I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen people claim that “this is the most important election of our lifetimes.”
‘Twas ever thus, right? Each election reaches a fever pitch among entrenched partisan lines, with more people voting for their party’s nominee merely because he’s not the other guy. We’re told that calamity awaits should that guy get elected, and therefore we must fall in line and save the Republic by supporting the better option of the two.
Media attention, money, energy, activity—everybody’s focus and efforts seem to be drawn to the overflowing cesspool known as Washington, D.C. As government grows, so do the efforts of interested parties in wresting control of the jackpot in favor of their own faction. Power increasingly centralizes in the federal government, and so more and more people find themselves determined to either harness or hinder that power for their perceived benefit.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
Jefferson wrote in the future tense. You and I can write in the past and present tense. This has become our reality. And too many people wrongly believe that the solution to combating centralized power is to first wrest control of that centralized power—willingly assimilating themselves into the Borg collective in the name of fighting against it. In doing so, such individuals enable the very thing against which they claim to be combating. Realizing that representation in and reform of Parliament was unachievable and undesirable, the founders realigned their political battle lines and opted instead for secession. They redrew the political lines to better achieve liberty, and so must we.
Liberty-minded individuals must realize that fighting the federal government within that same government is ultimately unachievable and undesirable. For every good bill passed, ten thousand tyrannical ones are added to an insanely voluminous set of laws. For every constitutionally-minded candidate elected, scores more entrench themselves within the establishment to institutionally violate liberty on a daily basis.
Today is election day—perhaps, as is passionately claimed by so many, the “most important” in recent decades.
But whether candidate A or candidate B is elected, the federal government will continue on its course of unconstitutional and immoral arrogation of authority it was never intended to have. Wars will be waged, surveillance and detention of American citizens will increase, bread and circuses will continue to quell the ignorant masses, and the flaxen cords of bondage will become increasingly rigid as more and more Americans willingly place the fetters around their own wrists. Expending so much effort to elect either of those candidates will not change this course. A different solution is needed.
Punch and Judy may seem to children like separate characters on the surface, but the true nature of the presentation is betrayed by focusing on the puppeteer controlling both. The D.C. machine marches onward independent of which political party is in power, and which president is elected. The pattern has been consistent for decades, and no fancy campaign speeches have later led to any significant deviation from this long-standing trend.
Fighting the state only on its own territory is political suicide. The place to fight the federal government is in the hearts and homes of our families and peers.
This sounds trite, but it’s the only way to succeed against the state. Like the founders, we must secede—opt out from an aggressive, distant, centralized government which has become destructive to life, liberty, and property. Our revolution can and should be a peaceful one; our secession can be a piecemeal one.
The federal government will not restrain the federal government. State governments should be used to provide this check and interpose between individuals and D.C. And those individuals should focus on living and popularizing a life of personal responsibility, where the state ultimately finds itself irrelevant because productive people are peacefully taking care of themselves and one another.
Elections do not bring the solutions that liberty-loving Americans look for. That effort begins on a much more fundamental level, where politicians, policies, and government programs have no say and no sway. Today’s election will come and go, and whoever wins will oversee and expand a government so massive that it nearly defies comprehension. It’s time to stop spending so much time, money, and political capital fighting to take the hill and impose our own set of rules. Fight for liberty in your homes, in your neighborhoods, and at a local and state level where the return on investment is higher. Shrinking Washington is a bottom-up approach, and always was.
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