Lately, the left and leftist media in particular, love to lecture Americans on what we need and don’t need. “You don’t need to protect yourself with that type of weapon” they say, “you don’t need to drive an SUV,” “you don’t need 20 oz of Dr Pepper,” “you don’t need to make that much money,” and the list goes on. Thankfully, the Constitution is not about needs.
This diabolical notion of needs is infiltrating the national discourse and consequently, eroding our foundation of rights. Reeking of nanny statism, it’s meant to shift the conversation away from rights given to us by our Creator, to an emotional response of what can be given to us by the government. It’s the pinnacle of arrogance for media, government, or whomever to presume a better understanding of what I need than what I am able to determine for myself. And it’s precisely this argument that must be made in order to counter the corrosive nature of a needs based society.
Nothing in our heritage is a derivative of need. Nothing in our Constitution addresses individual needs or the government’s involvement in the daily lives of private citizens. In fact, our founding principles and founding documents dictate the exact opposite. Our Bill of Rights was designed to protect the inherent rights of the individual from government dictates of need, and therefore an erosion of liberty. It is a document of negative powers, not a list of desires. Ultimately, the notion of needs is a bureaurocratic invention meant to micromanage the private citizen and slowly chip away at individual freedoms.
Falling under the umbrella of notion of needs is the exploitation of “general welfare.” Perverted by many, “general welfare” is usually part of the argument for vastly anti-libertarian social programs. Programs that rely on the success of many to accomodate the lack of few. “General welfare” was never, ever intended to be understood or applied as social welfare or government (and therefore, taxpayer) subsidized charity. The point of the “general welfare” clause, at least according to the guy that wrote the Constitution, is simply this:
If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress….
And here’s the money shot:
Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.
We are a nation founded on rights. Needs should be left to the subjectivivity of the individual and this cannot be emphasized or publicized enough. Anything less dissolves our unalienable right to liberty.