ROTC Thoughts: America, Land of the Not-so-Free

Ross Smith


It is ironic that just a few weeks ago the political science department celebrated Constitution Day in Decker, marking the 233rd anniversary of our Founding Fathers laying the foundations of America’s principles. Yet, we are in unprecedented times where politicians are departing from our foundations and entering into a new era where the government runs our lives and imposes on our freedoms.

One cannot simply deny this. We must take a look at our history to see the two fundamental reasons why we, simply put, do not live in a free country anymore. First was the enactment of the Conscription Act of 1917, also known as the “draft.” The idea that our government can force you to join the military, at any time, cannot hold true in a free society. It fundamentally means the government has control of your life. Even though the draft was ended in 1973, the Selective Service System still exists, which forces men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register in order for the possibility of a draft to be re-enacted. Secondly, many of our freedoms were lost on February 3, 1913 where the sixteenth amendment of our constitution was ratified, the income tax. The income tax also cannot exist in a free society because it means the government owns an individual’s income and consequently, allows them to keep a certain percentage of it.

The reasons why our freedoms are in a new age of threat is because America has adopted a philosophy of the “nanny-state” where government is involved in our everyday lives, telling us what to do from cradle to grave. While I am very sympathetic to President Obama’s intentions of helping Americans, the softness of one’s heart does not cause one’s ideas to work. The law of unintended consequences has never been so prevalent in Washington D.C., as politicians are enacting new policies that are made in the name of helping our citizens, however, achieving polar opposite results. Policies like Cap and Trade, Cash for Clunkers, and most recently, Healthcare Reform, all have the most genuine of intentions and the most devastating of consequences.

Over time, it is extremely clear that individuals have been the most prosperous when capitalism and free trade are adopted. These are some basic principles that we have drifted away from. Consequently, societies that depart from these principles are always worse off. I challenge anyone to show where the masses have benefited from adapting socialistic ideals.

In spite of this new mentality, I am taking the liberty (no pun intended) of organizing a club on campus in order to inform the public of these freedom-threatening policies and to promote the ideas of small government, free markets, and individual liberty. This is a philosophy known as Libertarianism, which asserts you can run your life better than the government can. Libertarianism, most simply put, encompasses the conservative philosophy of economic freedom and the liberal philosophy of social freedom. While I would love to continue on and thoroughly back up each one of my claims, I can not do that with just this article. That is why I would like to continue to submit articles on specific individual topics and debunk many of the misconceptions out there and show how individual liberty, like our founding fathers intended, really do promote the most prosperity…for EVERYONE!!!