By Dennis “DJ” Mikolay
The United States has always prided itself as being the world’s foremost innovator, and for the better portion of the country’s existence, there was great validity in that claim. Whether one was discussing technology, weaponry, or democracy, America excelled far beyond all other nations. Our potential was limitless, and when it came to creativity, the United States surpassed the entirety of the developed world.
But then something tragic happened. As with all good things, the United States’ role as the world’s inventor came to an end. Not only did we cease producing, we stopped enjoying what we had created. Americans could no longer fully utilize the technologies they had fought to create; the incentive to develop new technologies, as well as the ability to savor those that had already been designed, was relinquished.
What happened to the United States, the nation that was the envy of the world?
If you want the answer, just look to the government.
For the past century, the federal government has expanded its tentacles into literally every aspect of American life. Through regulations, taxes, and other back-handed tactics, Washington has deemed itself the primary authority on how Americans can live their lives.
While various individuals throughout recent history warned that Washington was slowly (but surely) over-reaching the confines envisioned by our Founding Fathers, it seemed that nobody cared. After-all, the government was simply “protecting” its citizens, helping to keep them financially stable or out of trouble. Uncle Sam was simply making life better; to the average American, it really didn’t matter if the “New Deal” sounded a great deal like “peace, land, and bread!”
As the 21st century begins to unfold, it has become undeniably apparent that the federal government has grown too large. They have squashed innovation, and the government has, in many ways, used regulations as a means to directly counteract the development of new technologies.
Author Jeffrey A. Tucker, the editorial vice-president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, realized this early on. He recognized that the federal government’s policies were quickly shifting from being inconvenient to outright ridiculous. Tucker recently penned the book Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo, which seeks to expose the sheer ludicrousness of many governmental policies.
“The state is the great evil in the world today,” said Tucker. “It affects all issues big and small. My book is mostly about small issues: shower heads, hot water, non-functioning toilets, light bulbs, and the like. In a million small ways, you can see how the state is constantly degrading life, unraveling civilization.”
Primarily, these attacks on science, and in many instances property rights, are perpetrated under the guise of “environmentalism.” Today, Americans are forced to deal with dim light bulbs, weak showers, and primitive toilets, all problems that were deliberately crafted by the government in the name of “environmental protection.”
Scientists solved these problems a long time ago; you simply aren’t allowed to reap the benefits. But isn’t this a good thing? After-all, the government is just trying to help us do what is best! Unfortunately, this concept, known as “central planning,” has been implemented in various countries before. It has never, in any circumstance, been even remotely successful.
The most notable was the Soviet Union, where the government would determine exactly what products could be available and for how much. In a closed market society, the government dictated every aspect of life. However, without competition, or the chance of innovation, the Soviet economy tanked, the black market thrived, and the Russian people continued to use antiquated technology well into the late 1980s.
There are those who would argue it is different in America. The United States is just trying to protect the environment. If they don’t do it, who will?
“With consistent ownership and liability, every kind of social problem can work itself out…the environment is no different,” said Tucker. “There is also a strange feature of the environmental debate: many of these people have religious-style beliefs about the wonders of nature untouched by man. It’s sheer nonsense. The only world worth living in is a man-made world. On its own, nature is threatening, dangerous, and mostly ghastly!”
As America shifts farther down the spiral of economic planning, it has become increasingly difficult for an individual to determine his or her own lifestyle. As the market becomes increasingly closed, and the availability of valuable technologies more limited, the American people will have to make a decision: either stand firm and demand an end to the asinine rules and regulations that flow endlessly from the capitol, or surrender their freedom and individual liberty to the “Central Planners.”
It shouldn’t be a difficult choice to make, but given how far down the slide of centralized government the United States has fallen, the outcome may prove disheartening.