The Bible seems to be pretty clear on the concept of theft. The eighth commandment simply says, “Thou shalt not steal.” The moral compass given to each of us tells us that this principle is true. After all, if someone takes something from you, do you not feel wronged? Of course you do. And the person doing the taking may feel guilt, if he/she is not past feeling. So why are so many Americans okay with the idea that if Government does the taking, it is okay? Some may answer that it is for the “better good.” To really appreciate and understand “Thou shalt not steal” is a true principle, no matter how it is accomplished, we must turn to the principles found in the Constitution.
The Constitution denies government the power to take from any individual his life, liberty, or property. Frederic Bastiat, in his book The Law, helps us recognize so-called legal theft perpetrated by Government:
“How is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply: See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…”
Sheldon Richman, in the forward to The Law, explains:
“A society based on a proper conception of law would be orderly and prosperous. But unfortunately, some will choose plunder over production if the former requires less effort than the latter. A grave danger arises when the class of people who make the law (legislation) turns to plunder. The result, Bastiat writes, is “lawful plunder.” At first, only the small group of lawmakers practice legal plunder. But that may set in motion a process in which the plundered classes, rather than seeking to abolish the perversion of law, instead strive to get in on it… The result of generalized legal plunder is moral chaos, precisely because law and morality have been set at odds. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
Allow me to repeat that last sentence, “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” We live in interesting times. How many laws can you think of that are not being upheld? On the flip side, how many laws or government regulations are being enforced that you find reprehensible because they infringe on the rights and freedoms outlined in the Constitution?
Some blame capitalism and free markets for the ills of society. Walter Williams,
Professor of Economics at George Mason University, offers the following insight:
“Ironically, the free market system is threatened today not because of its failure, but because of its success. Capitalism has done so well in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind—disease, pestilence, gross hunger, and poverty—that other human problems seem to us unacceptable. So in the name of equalizing income, achieving sex and race balance, guaranteeing housing and medical care, protecting consumers, and conserving energy—just to name a few prominent causes of liberal government these days—individual liberty has become of secondary or tertiary concern.
The primary justification for increasing the size and scale of government at the expense of liberty is that government can achieve what it perceives as good. But government has no resources of its own with which to do so. Congressmen and senators don’t reach into their own pockets to pay for a government program. They reach into yours and mine. Absent Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, the only way government can give one American a dollar in the name of this or that good thing is by taking it from some other American by force. If a private person did the same thing, no matter how admirable the motive, he would be arrested and tried as a thief. That is why I like to call what Congress does, more often than not, “legal theft.” The question we have to ask ourselves is whether there is a moral basis for forcibly taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it does not belong. I cannot think of one. Charity is noble and good when it involves reaching into your own pocket. But reaching into someone else’s pocket is wrong.”
“Another common argument is that we need big government to protect the little guy from corporate giants. But a corporation can’t pick a consumer’s pocket. The consumer must voluntarily pay money for the corporation’s product. It is big government, not corporations, that have the power to take our money by force. I should also point out that private business can force us to pay them by employing government. To see this happening, just look at the automobile industry or at most corporate farmers today. If General Motors or a corporate farm is having trouble, they can ask me for help, and I may or may not choose to help. But if they ask government to help and an IRS agent shows up at my door demanding money, I have no choice but to hand it over. It is big government that the little guy needs protection against, not big business. And the only protection available is in the Constitution and the ballot box.”
For freedom to continue to exist we must not give into the temptation of stealing from our fellow citizens, and we must say “no” to politicians who offer their services to do the stealing for us. Trump and Hillary are two sides of the same immoral coin. Tyranny is at the doorstep. Will we vote for a government that will steal from us? A clear conscience vote is a vote for someone who doesn’t promote a scheme to steal from one man and give to another.