Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
What a great world in which we live! Look at the great natural beauty around us. If you live in Montgomery County, you live in one of the most beautiful counties in the world. If you live in Texas, you live in a special place with special settings and special people who have an amazing heritage.
The reason we enjoy life is freedom. Even in the Soviet Union before 1991, people reported that there were occasions when they enjoyed life. Those occasions arose when they did what they wanted in life without government commanding and controlling them. When I was in Moscow, in July, 2014, I saw two very different cities. During the day, Moscow was a city of misery. The older people were out and about. They had lost all hope, had lived their lives through Soviet misery, and had grown used to a life of command and control. I had to get used to the time change from The Woodlands, Texas, so I went to bed at 10 p.m. and woke up at 11:30 p.m. I couldn’t sleep, because it was so light outside. I, therefore, decided I’d go running. I got dressed and did a barefoot run through the streets of Moscow. I even ran barefoot along Red Square around 2 a.m. What amazed me the most about Moscow was not the physical scenery (although that was pretty phenomenal). What truly amazed me was that Moscow seemed like a different place. Young people, who had not lived through the Soviet destruction of individual freedom were out and about. People were happy, cheerful, and friendly. Even the young police officers out that night were friendlier and happier than the old ones who patrolled during the day.
I saw a direct illustration of the fact that people were meant to be free. Life is freedom. Freedom is hope. Freedom brings hope.
On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, after he and his wife had returned from a very cheerful carriage ride through the city of Washington, President Abraham Lincoln ate a light dinner and then met with a small group of friends in The White House. One of those friends was George Ashmun, a retired United States Congressman who had served in the Whig Party but had nominated Lincoln for President at the 1860 Republican National Convention.
Lincoln was in wonderful spirits, although he and Ashmun discussed a topic which had begun to nag Lincoln’s mind, even as the American Civil War came to a close with a successful conclusion from his perspective. Lincoln and Ashmun discussed their mutual concern that the American people’s remembrance of the fundamental belief in the American Revolution was dimming. People were forgetting the basic principle upon which the United States had formed as a Union: that American government was of the people, by the people, and for the people. Lincoln bemoaned that Americans needed to feel “fully vested in their government rather than dependent on their government.”
Things didn’t work out so well for Abraham Lincoln over the course of the next 18 hours. Things didn’t work out so well for the United States of America over the course of the next 154 years.
Americans have lost the sense that government exists to protect free people from enemies foreign and domestic and to ensure their freedom.
It is arguably mere melodrama to contend that Lincoln’s death set the course of American history. President Lincoln made clear to his top generals, especially Ulysses S. Grant, that the United States should not seek revenge against the American states or people who rebelled. Rather, Lincoln had wanted to set a tone of reconciliation.
Even if Lincoln had lived, however, powerful forces changed American society. The United States grew into a nation of immense wealth and economic power. The states began to provide educations, economic opportunities, and choices, which enhanced American freedom, until something important happened.
Through a series of economic downturns, ambitious interest groups, and even more ambitious and greedy politicians, American government changed. At the time of the American Revolution, Americans clearly understood that a government which they sought would only protect them from enemies, i.e., to provide law enforcement and protect the borders from foreign interlopers. The change occurred as Americans began to look to the government for the solution to every problem. While Americans thought they wanted some forms of freedom, more significantly they looked to the national, state, and local government to take care of them and to manage American society.
Just listen to the words of our community in 2019. The political establishment urges government to take responsibility for “economic development,” suggesting that those people we elect somehow know more about the business of American business than businesspeople. The political establishment has fallen into the Obama bin Laden-laden trap that government, not the individual person, should protect our homeland. “Homeland Security” has become the moniker to justify massive government spending, efforts to take away basic freedoms in the Bill of Rights (look at efforts to regulate and take away gun ownership rights which the Second Amendment guarantees; look at government efforts to place cameras everywhere we go). Freedom activists just won a fight to get rid of “red light cameras” at intersections in Texas, but the proliferation of other government-operated cameras throughout American society makes that victory seem miniscule.
Clearly, the political establishment is winning, as government moves into new areas every day which would have been unthinkable intrusions into freedom and free markets at the time of Lincoln’s presidency. Clearly, bin Laden is winning his war to destroy the positive attributes of American society. There is no “balance” in “Homeland Security.” Rather, the decision is always to spend more money on hardening government, protecting the government elite, and distancing the government elite from the regular citizens in what used to be a free America. Do you realize that it is almost impossible to walk freely into the United States Capitol?
Where American society is today is a frightening locale. Government has taken over the education of children. It has actually gone far beyond that. By increasing the tax burden to the point that both parents must work in jobs outside of the home, by increasing the expansiveness of government education (now, in Texas, to include full day pre-kindergarten!), and by radically altering education curricula to de-emphasize basic skills such as reading, writing, and ciphering and to replace them with corporate-sponsored vocational education, the United States, the 50 states, and localities are thrusting millions of children into adulthood with job paths largely outside of their control and without the freedom to pursue careers of their choice as adults.
The system of public education along with a liberal media, which consistently pounds all of us with the benefits of government in almost every article which we read or watch, has conditioned all of us to accept government as the central focus of our lives, our hopes, and our futures. Schools teach “collectivism” as an ideal.
That simply is not the United States of America of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, or Abraham Lincoln. That degree of government action has no moral basis whatsoever in the Scriptures or in Locke’s Second Treatise on Government which the political philosopher based entirely upon Biblical principles.
If Mark Keough reads the Scriptures and understands them, if he then reads Locke’s Second Treatise and understands its argument that the moral government never goes beyond protecting citizens mutually from enemies foreign and domestic, then Mark Keough will understand that he has left the bounds of morality when he votes to spend public tax dollars on airports, economic development, “emergency management,” and giving tax dollars away to the charities of his choice (rather than to the charities of each taxpayer’s choice).
It’s immoral. It’s anti-Scriptural. The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans doesn’t get him to the moral high ground or to the place of cover. Sorry.
When government meets and discusses how much more in taxes it must collect in order to support its overhead – countless employees, employee benefits, supplies, lawyers, other professionals, training, capital projects – government is not acting like government. Government is stealing freedom from Americans. Government in the eyes of the Founding Fathers, who wrote the terms of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, didn’t imagine that government would act “businesslike,” because only free individuals conduct business.
If Harry Hardman wants to run the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District like a business, he needs to resign, because he is lost. It’s not a business. It’s the government. All of us own it. The citizens are at the top of the organizational chart. We’re not around as an inconvenience. Rather, we’re around to supervise and oversee. We’re the bosses.
Why has American government failed?
It’s failed, because the American people have failed themselves. Fundamentally, Americans have lapsed into laziness. Americans believe they can elect their fellow church parishioner to the school board and then know everything good is going to happen. Americans believe they can let the guy, who takes pictures of himself, self-publishes a book with his own beloved thoughts, and seeks out every photo opportunity to make himself appear important, run American government, when, in fact, that person has completely failed to build businesses, build a family, make genuine substantive contributions to his community, or do anything other than become the ultimate public relations nightmare with no substance behind him. What has Charlie Riley ever accomplished in his life? Of 590,000 people from whom to choose, why would we ever choose Charlie who can barely read and who barely scratched his way past a high school diploma?
People who have done nothing are precisely the people whom we seem to elect more and more. Look at the Montgomery County Commissioners Court. What successful businessperson with a real family and a real life would want to chuck it all in order to associate with those dysfunctional and corrupt people?
Clearly, Americans are permitting government, education, and the sources of information to spiral into greater dysfunction and deeper into the realm where government is the solution to every problem.
Look at Hurricane Harvey. Right after the storm, The Golden Hammer published an article that Harvey was entirely a man-made disaster. That article greatly offended many people. How could that be? How could this newspaper be so insensitive?
Nevertheless, look at what we know now. Overdevelopment, terrible government planning, cronyism in government planning, and a bonehead decision by the “flood control” agency to release millions of cubic feet of water in a massive torrent on the people of East Montgomery County and north Harris County without warning resulted in the destruction. Government created those terrible developments. People assumed that, because the government provided permits for those terrible developments, they must have been safe, even where they were low-lying areas near the course of floodways, into which government-sponsored real estate developments channeled excess runoff.
That Harvey was a man-made disaster, which government mis-planning caused, is just as clear today as it was in early September, 2017.
The fundamental lesson we should all have learned is that, outside of law enforcement and providing national security, government is bad at whatever government does.
So how do we fix the problem?
The American people must step into the breach. It’s far more than just showing up at the ballot box every two years to elect the people of the political party of your choice.
If you want freedom, you must act free. You are at the top of your county, your city, your hospital district, your state, and your nation. You are at the top of the organizational chart. They work for you. Every single employee who receives a government paycheck works for you. You should act that way. You’re the “CEO.” When the real Chief Executive Officer of a Fortune 500 company walks into a corporate department and the employees recognize her, you can bet that they treat her like the boss, even if she’s not their direct supervisor.
Citizens must take charge of government. Citizens must impress upon everyone that every dollar which government spends is a subtraction from freedom. The “servants” need supervision and oversight. That is your duty and your only path back to the fundamental form of American government, which Americans had begun to forget as long ago as 1865.
We must restore freedom to our lives and turn back the threat of government command and control which has gone too far and too long in the United States.
We are the hope for the future.