Saturday, April 10, 2010

All things being equal...

An axiom is a statement that is accepted as true without proof. I imagine we have all accepted an axiom of some kind in our lives. It doesn't necessarily mean that the statement is true, it just means that we accept it as true.

There's something called Euclid's axiom which theorizes that things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. That sounds reasonable. Of course, it's also possible that people might think things are equal when they really aren't.

About 140 years ago, some states in the southern half of our country decided they didn't want to be a part of our country anymore. There were a lot of reasons for their decision. The worst reason, and probably the one that overshadows all other reasons, was their desire to preserve government sanctioned slavery. Of course, slavery in any form is abhorrent. I've never understood why the founders of a nation that was founded and based on freedom would allow one individual to lay claim to the fruits of another individuals labor or life. They say it was a necessary compromise at the time. I never accepted that as the truth. Some things should never be compromised.

One of the things the founders did get right was placing limits on the federal government, and leaving decisions on matters not specifically granted to the federal government, to individuals and the states. Sadly, some of the people who wanted to separate from the rest of the nation claimed that legalized slavery was a matter of states rights. But in reality, nobody has the right to lay claim to another persons life or labor, and by extension, no government, federal or state, has the right to sanction slavery.

For years we have seen an increasing expansion of federal power. The latest expansion involving health care has brought about a groundswell of opposition, and a renewed interest in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which helps to define the limits of the federal government.

Unfortunately, the renewed interest in the Tenth Amendment has also encouraged some people to put forth the axiom that since some people who supported states rights were racists and supported slavery, and since the Tenth Amendment protects states rights, then anyone who supports the Tenth Amendment and states rights must be a racist.

Most of the people I know who are opposed to the increasing power of the federal government realize this isn't so. Most of those people are opposed to increasing the power of the federal government because they value freedom.

And that's the truth.

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