“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee…”
We all know the words, and we all love the sentiment in this old folk song. Our kids and grandkids probably sing this song in school plays, much as we did at their age. But even as we sing these cherished words, the beauty they represent is slipping away.
Ludwig von Mises, in his preface to Bureaucracy, writes: ”The main issue in present-day social and political conflicts is whether or not man should give away freedom, private initiative, and individual responsibility and surrender to the guardianship of a gigantic apparatus of compulsion and coercion, the socialist state. Should authoritarian totalitarianism be substituted for individualism and democracy?”
This is a searching question, and one we’ve all answered in our own hearts and on our own land with a resounding “no!”. The trouble is, do the proponents of the socialist state listen, and if they don’t, what is our recourse as liberty-loving people of the wide-open ranges?
Every lover of the west should be worried about the unelected bureaucracies driving the Endangered Species Act, the EPA, foolish natural resource policy, restriction of federal land use and endless regulation on hard-working land-owners and businessmen. But even more so, we should be concerned about the seemingly endless stream of borrowed and printed money that funds these unconstitutional hierarchies.
Any businessman or woman knows that money is a driver of action. Therefore, if we cut off the money, we can rein in rampant growth of bureaucracies like the EPA. With an endless stream of printed money and a false sense of security, faraway departments and special interests get to force their will on rural communities and individuals. They can buy media time, sway public opinion and use their money to falsely manipulate the marketplace.
If we elect principled individuals to Congress, who will serve their Constitutionally-mandated duty of controlling the purse and voting against frivolous spending, we can start to beat back these bureaucracies and restore our freedom as agriculturalists.
Congress needs to be held accountable. It’s not enough to blame the President, blame the media or blame our culture – these are all legitimate scapegoats, but they also serve the convenient purpose of absolving us from responsibility when something goes wrong. Congress must be re-elected every two years, and any Congressperson who has not stood firm on his or her principles and the causes we support needs to be challenged in the primaries, and must be rebuked on these votes.
Our government is a democratic republic, intended to represent the people and protect our God-given rights. We have excused well-meaning but ineffectual politicians for long enough, and it’s time to make 2014 the year of fiscal responsibility and free principles. The future of our farms, ranches and children’s agricultural future depends on our ability to require our representatives to truly represent us.
The time to start is now — the future of America the beautiful, with our spacious skies and amber waves of grain — rely on our resolve.