A lot of people who love big government think we need it so that individuals know what is “right” and what is “wrong.” But government is the last place we should look to as a moral compass.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: So, a lot of people who don’t believe in a limited government or scared of what the world would be like, you know if there wasn’t a strong government, they believe this because they think that without someone ruling over us, individuals like you and I would run around and maybe steal from each other, or we would hurt each other, and maybe they think that without government, nobody would take care of those in need. And I think we’ve done a really good job of showing people, with our podcast that, you know, individuals are capable of amazing things and we’ve seen our courageous heroes and our entrepreneurs, you know, overcome obstacles and help other people out without the government telling them what to think. Yeah. But, it got me thinking about this topic of, you know, who would tell us what is quote unquote, you know, scare quotes right or wrong without the government, because I think a lot of people have this idea that you have to have a government in order to keep people, you know, moral or good. And so, that’s, something I’ve been thinking a lot about. So I wanted to talk about that. So, Emma, if I asked you if it’s okay to steal, what would you say?
Emma: I would say no
Brittany: Right. That is the correct answer. But how do you know? That is my next question. Is it because the government says so?
Emma: No, absolutely not. It’s something I, believe it’s part of my moral code.
Brittany: Exactly. And it’s, so strange to me because again, I think a lot of people look to the government to answer this. And we’ve seen this specifically in things like, oh my goodness, for example, let’s talk about, you know, the government stealing, right? So, yeah, we say like, we don’t believe in stealing, but Emma can you think of an example of how this is pretty hypocritical if the government to tell us, you know, not to steal from one another?
Emma: Yeah. Taxation. They literally take our money without our consent. They force us to, I would actually say it’s worse than theft. It’s robbery. They’re forcing you to do it or they’re gonna throw you in jail.
Brittany: Exactly. And you know, Ron Paul used to have that, that plaque on his desk that said, don’t steal. The government hates competition.
Emma: I love that.
Brittany: And, right. It’s so funny, and it’s so true because here, you know if you steal from somebody, you are going to get thrown in jail. However, if you want us to steal from your neighbor for you and put it into some other program, right? Yeah, that’s fine. We’ll go ahead and we’ll take, you know, we’ll rob them at a point of a gun. You know, some robbers don’t even rob you at a point of a gun. Yeah. The government will, the whole thing. They’ll lock you up and throw away the key. So it’s so funny to me that we’ve looked to government to figure out what’s right and wrong, and I’d like to think that, people aren’t that silly to think that. And then I run into people, especially in DC, who really just believe that these, the government is filled with these, like morally good men. And if you know anything about the government, you think like these are some of the least moral people. Yeah. Who’ve ever lived? And somehow we’re looking to them to tell us what’s right and what’s wrong. So that just really, really gets me. So today I thought, Emma, we could just kind of go back and forth and talk about some of these silly ways that government, you know, people think the government should tell us what’s right, and it’s not right at all. No. But also I wanna talk about after we go through a few examples, I wanna talk about how people like you and I who don’t necessarily believe in big government, how we know that we’re doing the right thing or the good thing or the moral thing if the government isn’t telling us to do so. So the next thing I wanna talk about is murder. Yeah. I think most of us believe murder is wrong. You know, the concept of murder in our society actually comes from the Bible, even if you’re not religious. You think of Kane and Abel, they were two brothers. And, Kane did not like his brother Abel. He was jealous of him, and he took his life, and that was supposed to be like the first murder of people. Right. And that story, we’ve talked about how we learned through storytelling. That story was kind of supposed to teach us that murdering is wrong. But I think that there is a sense where people know that murder is wrong, even if the government would tell us not to. Right. There’s a sense of life, liberty property. Right. If you take somebody’s life away and they’re not directly trying to jeopardize yours, you know, unless you are running at me with a knife, Emma, I hope you never do this. And I think like, okay, you know, my life is in jeopardy. Yeah. I need to step in here and protect myself then taking someone’s life away is wrong. Now, the funny part about this is the government will tell us if we do this, you know, we’re gonna get put away forever or they’ll even try to maybe kill us through the death penalty, which we’ve talked about. Yeah. But Emma, can you think of ways that this is maybe hypocritical cool of the government? Like, are the government full of pure people who’ve never murdered or killed anybody?
Emma: Absolutely not. Our government sends us to war for pointless things all the time. And it’s, you know, like you said if we’re defending ourselves from a genuine threat and there are people that wanna kill us, yes. I do think it’s moral to protect yourself and defend yourself, but that does not mean that we should be off, you know, thousands of miles away from our borders interfering in other people’s conflicts and sending not only people to kill others but sending our young men and women to go die in other countries. That really, we do not need to be there. It does not need to be, something that we do. And there’s something that we like to call the military-industrial complex. And basically what that is it is a bunch of massive companies that work with the government and they get paid a lot of money to make weapons and to do what’s called basically defense contracting. It’s not really always defense. It’s a more kind offense if we’re being honest. And they get paid a lot of money to have these contracts, and they lobby the government very, very hard to try to keep us entangled in these wars. And it’s extremely corrupt. The more you read about it, the more upset it will make you. And the fact that the government tells us, you know, you know, do not murder, while at the same time, they are causing a lot of bloodshed for a lot of times really, really silly reasons that have nothing to do with us. It’s awful. It’s so bad that they do it and they get away with it. And yet so many people think, oh, well the government would never do anything wrong. They must have a good reason for being there. And sadly, that’s just not how it is.
Brittany: I think, like you said, there are reasons to go to war. I think hardly. In our, well, how we’re seeing it play out today, we rarely see like a just war. Right. You know, we’ve talked about the Revolutionary War as being a really just war because that was, that was our founding father’s fighting for our right to be free. But we’re not really fighting for our right to be free right now. We’re fighting for the right to occupy other countries to build an empire. Right. So it’s, very scary. Now, another thing, so lying is not necessarily against the law. However, there are things like fraud. So people will tell you in general, lying is wrong again, I think I was called you Anna, that was weird. Emma. I think you and I know that like we probably shouldn’t lie to people Right? Especially if we want them to be our friends. Yeah. Like, people aren’t gonna wanna be our friends if we lie to them. But if we take this on a bigger scale than we think about government. So lying is not against the law, but things like fraud, fraud is, would people like invest money in something and you give them, you don’t live up to your promise, they’ve given you money, or you’ve signed a contract and you don’t live up to your end, or you’re deceiving and you do something wrong. Now that would be against the law. So let’s think of things that the government has, you know, been fraudulent on. And I think of the Federal Reserve, I think of absolutely student loan debt, even, you know, fraudulent where you have these 17, 18-year-olds signing up for something they don’t even understand and then you swindle them out of all this money. And now it’s led to economic problems for not just Yeah. The ones taking out the loans but for our whole economy. So the government does these things all the time. And I’ll be honest with you, I think anything the government has ever used our money for is fraud in some way. Because it’s never what it’s supposed to be. It’s never this grand, you know, a program that’s gonna work.
Emma: Yeah. There’s no consent either.
Brittany: There’s no consent. You’re absolutely right. Yeah. It’s. oh yeah, please go on.
Emma: No, sorry. I was just gonna say, it’s crazy to me how the government has just deceived us so many times over and over and then like 50 years later they’ll declassify the files by the time no one cares anymore. Like we’ve talked about Operation Northwoods, where we had the joint chiefs of staff literally scheming to kill people, to kill Americans, just to convince us to go to war with Cuba. It’s insane the amount of times the government has lied to us and is lying to us right now. We just won’t get confirmation from them. They won’t admit it for a super long time. So, it’s pretty crazy how they lie to us and just get away with it. Because a lot of people just trust the government’s motives.
Brittany: If you’ve ever watched the Peanuts, which is like Snoopy cartoons, Charlie Brown, there’s a character Lucy who always tells Charlie Brown because she holds a football and says, come kick the football, I’m not gonna remove it. Cuz she always moves it and he falls and every like episode she was like, come kick the football, Charlie Brown, I’m not gonna do it to you again. I’m not gonna do it to you again. And every single episode she wrote, like, she moves the ball right as he’s about to kick it and he falls backwards. And that’s how a lot of people are with the government. Right. It’s like, this time, we’re not gonna lie to you this time, we’re not gonna lie to you. Yeah. Oh, oops. We’re lying to you again. Yeah. But so, back to, you know, the government or us thinking that the government can tell us what’s right. So the welfare state is another good example of this, right? Yeah. A lot of people think if you’re against the welfare state, then you must be a bad person because the government is telling us this is how we help somebody. So yes. Giving people things, people in need that need things, that’s absolutely a good thing to do. But we shouldn’t be forced to do it. It shouldn’t be against our consent. Yeah. As you said, Emma, and the way the government does it, doesn’t actually work. We’re not helping anybody. Yeah. We’re not helping them improve their circumstances. We’re giving them a handout for sometimes things that aren’t even good. Like they’re not getting quality healthcare, getting quality, this or that. Right. Right. So it’s not even a good solution to this. So it’s so funny to me because people, if you are against the welfare state, people that are very pro-welfare state will say like, you’re a bad person. Yeah. Why do people on the right or libertarians, like why do you guys hate the poor? Yeah. Why do you hate the less fortunate? It’s like, no, we don’t hate them at all. We just don’t think money should be stolen from us to give to them in the shape of like bad programs that don’t work, you know, that aren’t helping anybody. So that brings me to, as you know, as we get closer to the end here, is how do we know what is right? Who can we look to? Because not everyone believes in religion or is religious, right? now. That’s, that’s where my foundation of what is right and wrong came from Emma. That’s probably, yeah. Yours as well. So churches are great, but you know there’s other things. So there’s communities, there’s our families, there’s people we look up to. But Emma, I wanted to ask you that, like what is something? Yeah. Aside from maybe your religious beliefs, what where is something you look to or some people you look to figure out what is right and what is wrong?
Emma: Yeah. Gosh, what a good question. I think, like you said, a lot of my foundation for my own moral code comes from my religious ethic. And I’m a Christian and I, do try to follow the rules laid out for being a good person in the Bible. And that’s a huge deal to me. But also when I’m thinking about, you know, my relationship with the government and with authority, I really look back on John Locke and on these great philosophers, Bastian who had such an influence on how America was created and the rules that were set in place for government. They were not just based on, oh, well let’s think about a political system that could be effective. They were extremely radical for that time. The idea that every single person, no matter who they are, no matter what circumstances they were born into, whether they were rich or poor, or what their skin color was, no matter what, they all have the rights to life, liberty, and property. Which is, that’s how John Locke said it, it was changed in the constitution, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which I’m, I would, maybe we could talk about that another day, but I almost wish they would’ve just left it properly.
Brittany: I always feel that way, yep.
Emma: Because the government has just has its fingers in everyone’s pie and is trying to take our property all the time. So it would’ve been pretty nice if that could have been made more clear. But I think that that is an awesome thing that they acknowledge these rights come from our creator. They don’t come from us, they don’t come from the government. They don’t come from some benevolent leader who says, well, I’ll allow you to live your life the way you want. They come from something much more powerful and regardless of, of what, what you think our creator might be like, or if you’re even religious, it’s basically an acknowledgment that these things do not come from the government. They cannot be taken away from you rightfully by the government. They are yours just by being born. And it’s a huge deal. And people love to talk about human rights. We have a human right to this and a human right to that. But the human rights, they forget about the most, are the most important ones. Life, liberty, and property. And that’s, to me, that’s like a huge part of my ethics, and where my viewpoints I guess come from is that idea that I’m responsible for me. I need to take care of myself and I will treat others, you know, with dignity and treat others with respect for their personal rights. And that’s kind of what it all goes back to for me.
Brittany: I think you’re absolutely right and I think that’s the perfect place to wrap it up. But no, that’s absolutely, like, I think the life liberty property thing really hit the nail on the head.
Emma: Yeah. Absolutely. Awesome. Well, we will wrap it up here, guys. Thanks again for listening and we will talk to you all again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you soon.