On guns, taxation and tyranny
Gov.-elect Tony Evers has begun to select his staff and he is choosing people from the far left of the political spectrum. This indicates that Evers does not have any intention of compromising with the Republicanled Legislature. Evers plans to govern from and for the radical leftist base that elected him. Radical leftist doctrine dictates that Evers must seek to restrict gun rights and raise taxes. Wisconsin made a lot of progress on both of those issues under Gov. Scott Walker, so it is a good time to go back to basics and remember why gun rights and lower taxes are important.
When the founders of our great nation enshrined the protection of the individual right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, they did so for a single reason: to preserve the ability of the people to throw off a government that has become despotic.
When the Bill of Rights was written, the American experiment in self-governance was still in its infancy. The soldiers’ wounds were still healing from the long war of secession from the Great Britain and the dead were still being mourned by their families. Newly minted Americans had paid a heavy price to throw off one despotic government and knew that it would take just as much blood if they had to do it again.
The right to keep and bear arms does not exist for the purpose of hunting, shooting sports or even selfdefense. It exists, as the Declaration of Independence says, so that, “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.” Throwing off a government requires an armed populace, which is why every tyrannical regime in the history of humankind has disarmed its citizens.
Americans are free because they are armed and they are armed because they are free.
One of the principal powers granted to any government is the power to tax. At its best, a good government will collect taxes from the citizenry and use it for things that are for the general good, and for which the private sector is illequipped to do. The obvious things that fit this kinds of use of tax dollars are the military, law enforcement, large infrastructure needs, border enforcement, etc. At its worst, a bad government will collect taxes from the citizenry and use them to enrich favored people, oppress other people, or just waste the tax money. Welfare, corporate cronyism, wasteful government spending, etc. are examples of bad governance.
A totalitarian government can be a good government, but it is illegitimate without the consent of the governed. Conversely, a representative government can be a bad government when a tyranny of the majority fleeces a minority for its own gain.
In a totalitarian government, the power to tax is absolute and people must pay what the autocrat demands, or suffer consequences ranging from confiscation to imprisonment to death. In a representative government, the only difference is that it is not a single autocrat demanding the tax, but the majority of citizens. The consequences of refusing to pay a tax in a representative government is the same as in a totalitarian government.
Governments, whether totalitarian or representative, are the only entity in a civil society with the legal power to commit violence. That violence is directed against enemies of the nation in the form of a military, and it is directed against citizens of the nation who disobey the laws set forth by the government. The power of government is based on applied violence.
Oppressive taxes are not only a drain on our economy and fuel for bad government, but they siphon the ability of individuals to pursue their own happiness. Every dollar a government spends is a dollar that was taken from someone who can no longer use it for their own needs and wants.
Over the next several years, we can expect the Evers administration to make a strong push to restrict gun rights and raise taxes. State legislators and the citizens of Wisconsin must see through the toxic rhetorical gas and fight for principles of more gun rights and fewer taxes.
Owen B. Robinson is a West Bend resident. He can be reached at owen@boots andsabers.com.