In America, within living memory, all these things were true:
● You could sit up in the back of an open convertible and feel the
wind in your face without being fined for a seat-belt violation.
● Police would never burst into your house at midnight without knocking.
● You would never find a police “checkpoint” on an American highway.
● You could go to your doctor and not have your medical records automatically
made available to federal researchers and investigators.
● You could sit in a bar or the smoking section of a restaurant and
enjoy a cigarette as you relaxed with friends.
● You could get on an airplane carrying a firearm for self-defense.
● A peaceable person could order a firearm by mail through a major
department store's catalog.
● You could purchase several boxes of cold capsules without the drug
store calling police to report you as a “meth suspect.”
● You could buy gasoline for 29 cents per gallon and a pound of hamburger
for 69 cents. Although salaries were also lower than today, household
expenses and taxes were low enough that one parent in most families
could stay at home to watch over the children.
● You could open a bank account, make deposits, and withdraw money
without your activities being reported to a host of federal agencies.
● You could get a state drivers license without having to give a federal
government ID number.
● Your children could explore the realms of chemistry and model rocketry
without being considered potential bomb suspects.
● You could check books out of the library without fear that investigators
would get your records without a warrant.
● You could send your child to a government school without him or
her automatically being put on a military recruitment list.
● You could fill in a low spot on your own property without having
to beg for an array of federal and state permits.
● And you knew that, in a free country, your home would never be confiscated
just so that it the government could give it to a private resort or
That was then, this is now.
Today matters are very different – and getting worse. We're surrounded by police-state “security” measures that do little to make us safe but a lot to make us feel humiliated, bullied, and spied upon.
Our neighbors, utility workers, bank tellers, and store clerks are encouraged to report anything we do that might be “suspicious” (and “suspicious activities” can include things as innocent as buying “too many” coffee filters, batteries, or cans of lye for opening drains or making soap).
Virtually all our freedoms are being curtailed – from the right to travel or speak freely to the right to have our homes secure against violent invasion by military-style police.
We have -- as Ben Franklin warned us we should never do -- traded away our freedom to get a little security. The result is exactly as Franklin predicted: We are increasingly less free and less secure.
Many of us also become less prosperous every day. Good jobs go overseas, leaving low-paying service jobs in their place. Our money becomes worth less and less every year. (U.S. money has lost about 95 percent of its value since our grandmother's day.) Children are shoved into institutional care because both parents have to work to support a family. Our debts pile up higher and higher until today, the average American household actually has more debt than income each year.
The debts being run up by the federal government are even worse. In October 2005, the national debt passed $8 trillion. As I write this, in December 2005, the government has run up liabilities of more than $27,000 for every single living American, man, woman, and child. Between January 2001, the debt increased at an average of $14,939.97 per second, or $1.291 billion per day. During the last several months of 2005, the debt has been increasing at $2.83 billion per day. 
The numbers are mind boggling, but the basic fact is simple to understand: Government irresponsibility and overreach is stealing your future and your children's future. Government takes your money, your time, your property, and your freedom and uses your “contributions” to harm you. In short: big government is a form of theft. It steals your life.
[B]ig government is a form of theft. It steals your life.
We got into this dilemma largely because we lost sight of the importance of putting strict limits on government.
But life doesn't have to be this way.
The future could be better.
Now, think about a different sort of life you could have:
● You deposit $10,000 in your bank account and nobody demands to
know where it came from. Nobody reports it to federal investigators. Because unless you do something overtly criminal, unless investigators
have justification for getting a search warrant or a subpoena,
your finances are considered your private business.
● You travel freely without being terrorized by checkpoints, pat-downs,
or incessant demands for your government ID.
● You know that no government will deny you your right to defend yourself,
your family, and your community against violent criminals.
● You can freely purchase food supplements or seek alternative health
care, knowing that your own educated choices won't be vetoed in advance
by bureaucrats. Everyone knows that your health and nutrition
choices are your own business.
● Individuals are considered responsible for their behavior. Those
who use recreational chemicals (like tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana)
responsibly are left alone. Those who are prone to addictions can
seek medical help without fear of being arrested. Those who use chemicals
recklessly, harming others, are held responsible for their behavior,
not the chemical.
● You can be confident you won't be arrested arbitrarily. If you are
arrested, you know that the justice system will scrupulously respect
your rights. You'll never be tortured. You'll never be locked up for
years without trial. Your assets will never be confiscated unless
you're convicted of a crime in which the method and degree of asset
forfeiture is explicitly spelled out in advance.
● You pay fewer personal taxes, which enables you to work fewer hours
and provide better for your family. Because the business people you
deal with also pay fewer taxes, goods and services are all more affordable.
● Businesses are neither subsidized by government nor regulated by
unconstitutional agencies. They stand or fall on their own merits
– as determined by their customers. Citizen watchdog groups that you
choose to support replace government intervention, making sure that
bad products or unsafe practices come to the attention of purchasers.
● There are still poor people and disabled people in this world. They're
helped by families, neighbors, religious groups, and charities. Because
there are more opportunities and fewer economic barriers, poverty
decreases over time. Those who have pulled themselves up create opportunities
for others. The genuinely unfortunate get assistance. But the few
who persist in making stupid, irresponsible choices soon find that
nobody is willing go on enabling them. Those who want to game “the
system” discover that there is no “system” -- just other people they
have to look straight in the eye. Other people to whom they must be
accountable if they want help.
● You don't live in Utopia. Human beings never will. Sometimes state
and local governments get too big for their britches and attempt to
pass laws that limit freedom. But it's far easier to battle injustice
close to home than it ever was to have to fight every injustice, every
outrage at the federal level.
● There is no constant “war on this or that.” There is no need for
such wars and the barrage of media scares and Draconian laws that
go with them.
● In the world where you live, the federal government is primarily
a modest-sized administrative organization without armies of career
bureaucrats and regulators. It has a handful of powers delegated to
it by the people and the states, but it has no involvement in daily family life, education, medicine, manufacture, agriculture,
religion, media, entertainment, or the thousands of other areas in
which today's federal government takes a dominating, “800-pound gorilla” role.
● The government has neither the power nor the desire to subsidize,
subdue, and control all the other countries of the world.
● And each year, the central government gets smaller and smaller – taxing less, taking less, surrendering more and more authority to
the states and the people, to whom real power rightly belongs.