A practical governing philosophy for liberty-loving candidates in one word: Cut.

Tuesday night, celebrating the Tea Party’s electoral victories, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, the Instapundit, offered up these words in the Washington Examiner:

As millions of Americans were drawn into politics for the first time, many of them learned something important: It’s fun. It’s fun to elect candidates, fun to win elections — fun even to lose, sometimes, compared to staying home and shouting at the TV.

Politics is sanctified crime: Pushing innocent people around by force, usually by stealing the wealth they have earned and giving it unearned to your political allies. We have a name for people who find that kind of behavior “fun” — sociopaths. Not letting up on the terror, Reynolds goes still further:

Once involved in politics, people tend to stick around.

Ain’t that the truth?

I love it that liberty-loving candidates are running for electoral office — with a real chance of winning. But I fear for them, too — and for the rest of us. If we are to reduce the pestilence of government in our lives peacefully, we must shrink the leviathan state as we grew it — incrementally. That means that we must replace the politicians seeking to enslave us with others pursuing our manumission. But government is a cloying addiction, especially if you find politics “fun.”

I have many fears for liberty-seeking politicians, once they take office. For a first, power corrupts. What’s the point of having a sports car if you can’t push the accelerator to the red line? And once people start working together, enemies become friends. It’s easy to reach casual compromises when you get to know your philosophical opponents personally. Who doesn’t want to be cordial at work? And there is always the risk that earnest folks will choose to “do something” — that is, enact more sanctified crimes — in the face of some putative emergency.

I have a salve for those fears, though, a governing philosophy for Tea Party and libertarian politicians in one word: Cut.

If liberty-loving office-holders will focus only on eliminating government, never on growing it, nor even “reforming” it, they will be safe from the siren song of the state — and we will be safe from them.

Cut what? Cut everything. Like this:

* Cut spending in every way possible.

* Cut taxes — and fees and excise levies and every other form of legislated theft.

* Cut regulation for businesses and cut red tape for everyone.

* Cut occupational licensing — criminal barriers to earning a living and creating jobs — and cut the jobs of the bureaucrats issuing those licenses.

* Cut government staffing wholesale by eliminating entire agencies and departments — and cut head-counts everywhere else.

* Cut government-owned real estate, vehicles and chattel property — especially weapons to be deployed against innocent people.

The champions of universal human slavery to the state will insist that we cannot possibly cut spending and taxes. But this will be easy to do once we have eliminated so much of the government’s overhead. Every government job eliminated is one less perpetual parasite feeding on the body politic: One less huffy goof-off destroying wealth all day, one less salary, one less desk, one less office, one less car, one less gun — and one less juicy benefits package costing a fortune now and millions more later.

There’s more: If we can cut the burdens we have piled onto the free market, the wealth-destroying jobs we cut in government will be replaced by wealth-creating jobs instead — not just a double benefit but a geometric boon going forward. Cutting government is the efficient cause of the phenomenon thoughtless people call an “economic miracle.”

If the politicians elected by Tea Party and libertarian activists decide that politics is “fun” — we’re screwed. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. But if they focus their attentions on doing nothing but cutting away the tentacles of the leviathan state, we could be witnessing the dawning of a new golden age.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

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  • Sorry… I don’t think so. 🙁 I was one of the original “Libertarians,” and spent twenty years beating my head against that brick wall before I realized electoral politics was a trap, a deadly drug. And the LP has proven this time and time again over the years.

    How can you hope to find individual liberty by playing with sociopaths, on their field, with their rules and using their ball? The sociopaths will always be the majority in that game. Furthermore, the moment anyone started making “cutting” noises, they would throw them out – if they were lucky. Some would wind up conveniently dead if they presented even a hint of any real threat to the status quo.

    So far, Ron Paul has evidently not presented any such real threat. The moment he does, I suspect he will die. And I don’t see millions of other such good men and women standing in line to take his place, even if he lives to be 100.

    Where ARE all those stalwart souls, ready to take on the sociopaths in their own dens?

    We need frontiers. We need to leave the parasites to consume each other. Atlas must shrug…

    • I do agree with you in a big-picture way: I don’t hold out huge hopes for a peaceful devolution of power. But hope is what you have left when everything else is gone, and maybe the horse will learn how to sing. I will be delighted to be proved wrong about the liberty-loving candidates now seeking office.

      • As the old saying goes… wish (or hope) in one hand and… Well, you know the rest.

        Even a pig “might” learn to sing, but not rocks. Nor sociopaths. Do we pick peaches from pine trees, or gather hen’s eggs from ocean waves?

        A is A. A thing or a person is what it is – no matter how much we might hope otherwise.