Many conservatives, particularly of the libertarian type, argue that “limited government” allows people to be free, and for the United States to be the land of liberty that it was meant to be by the Founding Fathers. Their concept of freedom is unregulated business, fiscal austerity, and personal liberty, as well as a fundamentalist interpretation of the Constitution, opposed to the theory that the Constitution is a living document. But what is freedom? Something I found particularly striking is the Merriam-Webster definition of freedom, which states that freedom is “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”
Freedom is not just a Constitutional Right, or what we enjoy just by being human, it is what makes us human. Our ability to pursue our lives in the way that we choose. Freedom is not just something that can be taken away by the Government, it is something that can be taken away by a variety of other entities, such as a business, an organization, or even a person.
What conservatives fail to recognize is that in their ideal paradise, the “tyranny” of government will be replaced by the tyranny of business, and the “oppressive” laws that govern our country, such as gun laws, business regulations, and others, will instead be replaced by blatant sheeplike consumerism, and economic hardship.
In 1941, FDR set out goals that were the responsibilities of all governments to accomplish. This ended up being the Four Freedoms, which are Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. If the government was completely incapacitated, and the US became a corporatocracy, we would not become completely “free,” the rich would become richer, and the vast majority of the population would instead be chained down by poverty, a decline in social and economic mobility, and pollution. Our freedoms would be permanently degraded in search of all-consuming profit. Is this a future that I look forward to, that I aspire to be a part of? Absolutely not.
This notion that deregulating the market will create personal freedoms is not only irrational, it is delusional. One would just be replacing a government of elected officials with the tyranny of profit, consumerism, and monopoly.
I would be remiss if I just discussed problems without offering solutions. I do not have the luxury of being the President. First would be the immediate and unapologetic breakup of the corporate monopoly. Many companies that offer products that we know and enjoy are owned by other corporations, and as a result a select handful of businesses have control of most of the private sector in the Western World. I would suggest an immediate strengthening of all US anti-monopoly laws, as well as the immediate breakup of many major corporations, including Berkshire Hathaway, Kraft, Alphabet, Nestle, and many others. Preventing monopoly and enabling competition should be a primary focus of the US Government, in order to aid in producing better products at lower prices. In addition, I would strengthen the US tax codes, as well as increase penalties and prison sentences for tax fraud and avoidance.
In conclusion, the United States Government must take a firmer stance on the private sector, in addition to ensuring that the people of the United States remain free, prosperous, and bound by the Constitution. The private sector has no interest in the welfare of the people, only their money, and so the US Government must stand up.