In his 1759 book "The Theory of Moral Sentiments", Adam Smith wrote that government bureaucrats often think they “can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chessboard.” But Smith also notes on “the great chessboard of human society, every single piece has its own principle of motion.” Freedom.
"Unstable condition [is] a symptom of life in mental and environmental change."
Governments don't really like to govern but they LOVE to control, and personal freedom always seems to take a back seat regardless of the topic. Political satirist P.J. O'Rourke is quoted as saying,
"Government is just a form of bullying for weaklings, and politics is the art of achieving power and prestige without merit. Think about the kid-has-to-put-a-hockey-helmet-on-to-answer-the-phone society we live in now. Government is filled with people who come and tell you that everything you do is bad for you, bad for other people, insensitive, divisive, harms the climate, unsustainable, leaves too large a carbon footprint, tangles things in the tuna nets that shouldn’t be tangled in them. Whatever. They’ve always got some reason to tell you what to do."
And, sometimes, how to do it as well.
Anthony Fauci foisted the 6-foot social-distancing requirement on all of us during the pandemic. How did he come up with 6 feet? Science? Dr. Fauci now admits it “sort of just appeared.” Ever wonder what else has been pulled out of thin air? On Nov. 4, 1933, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau wrote in his diary that he and President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised the price of gold by 21 cents because “it is a lucky number.” It sort of just appeared.
"An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure."
The more you look, the less government can be trusted. The problem with government is that the people in power, especially presidents, become the single point of failure. As president, Donald Trump tweeted “I am a Tariff Man” before imposing tariffs willy nilly. Now he proposes 10% tariffs on all imports and perhaps 60% on goods from China. And what about the Biden administration’s naked politics of pausing new permits for liquefied natural gas exports last month? Why? Because it is believed that he could use that action to garner support for his platform from the green community. Of course that was never stated openly, but what other conclusion can be drawn from it?
"Everybody's got mixed feelings about the function and the form."
Citing a study in Nature magazine that says online searches might lead to believing conspiracy theories, a Washington Post “analysis” last month said, “Doing your own research is a good way to end up being wrong.” But what other alternative is there? Am I just supposed to allow some bureaucrat who does not necessarily share my views on society, religion, and the nature of humanity to impose his legislative will on everyone simply because he sits in a chair in an office of some building stuffed to the rafters with other bureaucrats? Is it better to let government and its army of Faucis and Morgenthaus decide for you? Personally, I think I'd rather risk the possibility of being wrong. THAT is "personal freedom."
"Leave out conditions. Courageous convictions will drag the dream in to existence."
I prefer the idea of a limited government. Spend enough on defense to keep us safe and secure, help the truly downtrodden, do some basic research and then, as Grover Norquist so eloquently suggested, get government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” For society, as long as people are not harming others, let them do what makes them happy. For the economy, the government should set the rules of the sandbox, then get out of the way and let markets and competition do their magic. Economic progress comes from loosely connected, self-interested participants communicating via price signals. This beats centralized government control every time.