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PERSONAL FREEDOM AND POWER
Indispensable for personal freedom is the liberty to contemplate, reason, communicate, exchange and work, and to possess the gains made by these endeavors. George Mason codified the elements of freedom in the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights:
"That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights...namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."Ride Along with MitchCan the astonishing popularity of Indiana’s penny-pinching governor carry him to the White House in 2012?
Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is dedicated to human freedom. Andrew Ferguson in the Weekly Standard quoted Daniels from a previous interview:
“Never take a dollar from a free citizen through the coercion of taxation without a very legitimate purpose,” Daniel s said in an interview last year. “We have a solemn duty to spend that dollar as carefully as possible, because when we took it we diminished that person’s freedom.”
Oh, doesn’t every American politician believe in freedom? No. Most American politicians believe in power and government control. Daniels is unique. He comprehends that free people exchanging ideas, goods and services are what drives innovation and prosperity.
Yes, taxation without a legitimate purpose does diminish a person’s freedom retarding the person’s opportunity to invest their time, intellect, and labor. Again, the free exchange of ideas, goods and services fosters inspiration and resourcefulness and propels commerce, science, art and charity. Personal freedom best advances civilization.
Daniels has a clear philosophy of the purpose of government:
“I’m enough of a Whig to know that government can create the conditions in which free markets can flourish,” he says. “Beyond that I get skeptical.”
In other words, government has clear and consistent rules in which the citizens can plan and invest their money, time and labor.
Why is Daniels unique? He has experienced many key components of American life. He is well educated – Princeton. Early in his career he experienced Washington as an aid to Senator Lugar. He has been a business executive; greatly contributing to his philosophy of governing is his association with the Hudson Institute, a think tank dedicated to human freedom.
He also enjoyed the company he kept. “There were a lot of really smart, really interesting, really flaky people,” he said. Hudson placed him in the thick of the conservative intellectual counterculture of the 1980s. He dabbled in highbrow activism, joining the board of the human-rights group Freedom House and founding a pro-immigration group with the great economist Julian Simon. He still seeds his conversation with references to George Gilder, Thomas Sowell, Michael Novak, and, especially, Charles Murray, whose work, he says, demonstrated that big government liberalism—or statism, to use Daniels’s preferred term—does more harm than good to the very people it was designed to help. And it does this by smothering free enterprise, which works as the real engine of human innovation and betterment. “I’m enough of a Whig to know that government can create the conditions in which free markets can flourish,” he says. “Beyond that I get skeptical.”
Daniels recognizes the explosive expansion of government and the loss of personal freedom: “What we’ve seen in the past year, what I call shock-and-awe statism, has put the American experiment at risk,” he said. “For the first time in my life, the country faces survival-level issues.”
Ferguson reports: Those would be, along with “terrorism in a WMD world,” the national debt and the recurring federal deficits.
The “American experiment” is personal freedom. Mitch Daniels is an American dedicated to personal freedom. Fortunately for Indiana, he is also their governor.