Looters at our gates are our own elected representatives

At some point every great civilization has to confront the phrase, “The barbarians are at the gate.” This is one of those times.

In keeping with my own sense of literary parallels, I suppose “looters” would be a better term, as it is probably more meaningful to those familiar with Ayn Rand’s increasingly important novel, “Atlas Shrugged.”

Last weekend, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bloated and draconian health care reform bill, the looters pounded loudly on the gate to let the country know they wanted in where we keep the money and the little bit of freedom we have left. Granted, our looter barbarians are homegrown and pounding on our own garden gate, but that’s often even more dangerous.

As a regional columnist, I try and write primarily about things that affect our area, but it’s precisely the swift effect of national politics on our local affairs that is so alarming.

Our constitutional republic was designed in such a way that the broad strokes of policy which were taking place in the national capital were to serve interests that seldom would immediately affect the citizens of the states. Short of war or a monetary catastrophe, the federal government was to have a remote administrative duty to the states and a direct function in national defense and trade between nations.

Now however, when a gavel drops in Washington, the hammer falls on western Colorado. Each new day brings policies that prove Ross Perot was at least half right — there is a great sucking sound as jobs and money are pulled away from the states. The difference is the vacuum is not in Mexico, but in that former Maryland swamp that was given for what was supposed to be a sleepy national capital.

It would be great if we could concentrate our time on purely local affairs, but the pernicious creep of national bureaucracy has gotten to the point where local municipalities can’t even build a road without trying to get stimulus money from the federal government.

One has to wonder how many meetings of city and county government take place without some discussion of federal regulations, the availability of federal money and the restrictions on local government if they take any money. I’m sure no one would be surprised to find the amount of time spent in local meetings on these topics has increased drastically in the last couple of years.

The nearly 2,000 pages of mischievously named health care reform can do little but further transfer massive amounts of liberty from individuals to bureaucratic behemoths. The definition of health itself is so fuzzy as to purposefully provide for umbrella like regulation over each aspect of the human condition.

An argument can be made that every human activity somehow affects either the health of the individual engaged in it or someone around that individual. For instance, if you think the Centers for Disease Control are doing studies on firearm ownership for some purpose that is benevolent to the Second Amendment freedoms many in western Colorado cherish — well, I like a cockeyed optimist as much as the next guy and it could be a coincidence it is happening at the same time as the health legislation. But that’s not the way the smart money is betting.

Legislators as looters, is probably as accurate in its common meaning as its literary one. Those who are passing this legislation generally produce little besides paper and more pesky paper pushers, whose job is to carry off other people’s money and make sure they don’t wander around unsupervised.

In the past, many in authority were content to merely siphon unearned benefits from society’s producers — people like us who were fairly content to pay for what were originally essential services.

Now, from our mountain vantage point, we see many in government have decided that essential services includes their re-election. They hope to help this along by redistributing wealth and health care to build a voting class that relies on their power to transfer resources from those who mainly produce, to who mostly consume.

All I know is that I hear them knocking on the gate — but I don’t intend to let them in.


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