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Affluent Christian Investor | October 23, 2020

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Sir William Blackstone And Equality

Statue of Sir William Blackstone, Washington DC.

The great English jurist, Sir William Blackstone, warned vigorously, as did Brutus, in Anti Federalist Nos. 78-79, that given too much jurisdiction on equality over the States, the Judicial Branch would reach and take power as another legislative branch. In fact, this is exactly what has happened in the federal jurisprudence with destructive results on liberty. Blackstone cautioned that “the liberty of considering all cases in an equitable light must not be indulged too far, lest thereby we destroy all law.” He continues:

…and leave the decision of every question entirely in the breast of the judge. And law, without equity, though hard and disagreeable, is much more desirable for the public good than equity without law; which would make every judge a legislator, and introduce most infinite confusion; as there would then be almost as many different rules of action laid down in our courts, as there are differences of capacity and sentiment in the human mind.[1]

The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek disclosed in The Road to Serfdom a warning to the deterioration of freedom and liberty under centralized planning. In April 1945, Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of The Road to Serfdom. In the Preface of the Reader’s Digest version it “sounds a grim warning to Americans and Britons who look to the government to provide the way out of all our economic difficulties. [Totalitarianism is] the inevitable results of the increasing growth of state control and state power, of national ‘planning’ and of socialism.”[2]

In the Reader’s Digest condensed version of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, the stark contrast between collectivism and individualism is centered on Christian principles and values:

Individualism, in contrast to socialism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is based on the respect of Christianity for the individual man and the belief that it is desirable that men should be free to develop their own individual gifts and bents.  This philosophy, first fully developed during the Renaissance, grew and spread into what we know as Western civilization.  The general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which bound him in feudal society.[3]

So how destructive has the effort to eliminate poverty been? Massive and growing. Claremont Review of Books Senior editor, William Voegeli writes:

In 2013 the federal government spent $2.279 trillion—$7,200 per American, two-thirds of all federal outlays, and 14 percent of the Gross Domestic Product—on the five big program areas that make up our welfare state[4]…That amount has increased steadily, under Democrats and Republicans, during booms and recessions.Adjusted for inflation and population growth, federal welfare state spending was 58 percent larger in 1993 when Bill Clinton became president than it had been 16 years before when Jimmy Carter took the oath of office.By 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated, it was 59 percent larger than it had been in 1993.[5]

In actuality the staggering numbers are of secondary issue – the result of the primary issue. The primary issue is that these efforts by the federal government are utterly illegal (regardless of their passage by Congress and signing into law by the executive branch). They completely usurp natural rights reiterated in the Declaration (as these natural rights preceded the United States, and even man), and violate the Constitution as there is no such power enumerated to the Federal government. These laws, federal institutions, and economically destructive practices are an absolute desecration to the American Compact.

[1] Sir William Blackstone, 1753, Commentaries on the Laws of England: Of the Nature of Laws in General, Vol. 1, “Section II: Of the Nature of Law in General,” (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund), [http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/blackstone-commentaries-on-the-laws-of-england-in-four-books-vol-1].  Also referenced in Marshall L. DeRosa, 1991, The Confederate Constitution of 1861: And Inquiry into American Constitutionalism, (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press), p. 102.

[2] Friedrich A. Hayek, April 1945, The Road to Serfdom with The Intellectuals and Socialism (Condensed Version), Reader’s Digest, p. 34.

[3] Friedrich A. Hayek, April 1945, The Road to Serfdom with The Intellectuals and Socialism (Condensed Version), Reader’s Digest, p. 42.

[4] 1. Social Security; 2. All other income support programs, such as disability insurance or unemployment compensation; 3. Medicare; 4. All other health programs, such as Medicaid; and 5. All programs for education, job training, and social services.

[5] William Voegeli, October 2014, “The Case Against Liberal Compassion,” Imprimis, Vol. 43, No. 10, (Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI), p. 1.

 

 

Originally published on Townhall Finance.

 

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