I arrived at the event about 30 minutes early. The parking lot was already starting to fill and police were on site to maintain order. I rushed to find my seat, but that’s where the interesting things started to happen. It was clear from the beginning that some spectators were there specifically as a resistance to the Republican Party and its policies. Representative Amash, however, is not your average Republican and this was not a Trump rally. His voting record is an outstanding account of his defense of the principles of Liberty. Since the creation of Vote Liberty, Representative Justin Amash has been the number one proponent of Liberty at the federal level. We’re lucky to find one or two votes per year that could be construed as a negative impact on his record. Circulating among the crowd were “resistance packets”, passed out by a Progressive group whose purpose is to push outright socialist policies like single payer healthcare, defeat school-choice proposals and raise taxes to create financial equality and the ever illusive “social justice”. Included in the packet are tips on how to be disruptive and combative to allowing Representative Amash to interact with his supporters and constituents. It was quite clear that this was not going to be an easy day for Amash or his supporters. Even the Chairman of the Barry County Democratic Party was on site to voice his opinion. Below are a few highlights from the event, along with some side notes and personal rebuttals.
From the very beginning, one of the major issues of the morning was veteran healthcare. People across the room cheered when Representative Amash stated that in order to fix our veteran’s care, they needed more options, specifically the same options that are currently available to the general public. In other words, if they’re in need of care, they should be able to go to any doctor or facility for treatment. However, the random shouts and interruptions from the socialists in the room permeated the day’s discussions with cries for a single payer healthcare system. The VA and its services are the only example of single payer healthcare within the United States. The socialist faction of the political left openly admits the faults of the VA, but refuses to accept the inevitable failure of a nationwide program for the exact same reasons the VA fails to perform its primary function of providing care to our veterans. Unfortunately, that connection was never made and the larger debate over healthcare in the United States will likely continue. Representative Amash did point out one of the fatal flaws of the Affordable Care Act, and quite frankly every healthcare reform bill to take place since the initial Government interference in the early 1970’s. The Affordable Care Act failed to address the overall cost of healthcare, which is the price you (or the insurance company) pay for procedures and medicine. He correctly addressed the issues that contribute to the overall cost, such as a lack of competition between healthcare providers, insurers, drug manufacturers and the mandated insurance coverages put in place by the Federal Government.
Many issues were brought up pertaining to federal protection of the LGBT community, as well as “people of color” in regards to the Department of Education. This issue has always baffled me. It’s as if the LGBT community was unable to attend public schools or receive a public education prior to 2015. On top of that, Representative Amash clearly pointed out that the Department of Justice, not the Department of Education, was in charge of dealing with allegations of discrimination. He then added that there is no Constitutional authority for the Department of Education, which then prompted questions about the Constitutional authority for the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice, even though officially created in 1870 and not specifically authorized in the U.S. Constitution, has a history of investigating the laws that are specifically mentioned in the Constitution, such as counterfeiting, piracy and treason. The Attorney General, the head of the Department of Justice has had a position in the Presidential cabinet since 1789 and plays a vital role in the Federal Judiciary System. A different debate is needed to discuss the growth of the bureaucracy and its ever-growing authority. There were also many teachers in attendance, who raised questions about the school voucher program and its effects on the public education system. The only real debate to be had here is whether or not individuals who oppose school of choice and voucher programs believe that people are capable of making their own decisions. Let us not forget, the idea of people having to prove their intellectual integrity in order to make their own decisions is a tool that has been used by the Government as a precursor for voting rights. People are perfectly capable of making their own decisions when it comes to the education of their children, and those decisions should not be limited or hindered by people who don’t believe in free association or freedom in general. Government monopolies and the people who support them are dangerous and their intentions often lead to oppressive behavior.
Overall, the experience mimicked the data we’ve collected by exit polling. People tend to act and vote based on what feels good or right, rather than what makes reasonable sense. Socialism feels like a security blanket to a lot of people. Even the Republicans attending this event wildly applauded at the suggestion of expanding Medicaid and Social Security, two of the earliest outright socialist programs run by the Federal Government. There was no attempt by the framers of these programs to disguise their foundations. There are readily available and easily referenced faults in these programs. Social Security only returns one tenth of what an individual puts in to the program over their lifetime. It is the worst investment program available as a retirement option. In a private market, no one would invest in a fund that has a -90% return on investment. You’d be far better off using your money as pillow stuffing until your retirement than letting the Government manage it. The other example is Medicaid, the plight of medical care. If it weren’t “free”, people would flee from it like the plague.
The trademark of a socialist program is its lack of free association. There is no public option. Public education, income tax, social security and Medicaid are perfect examples of socialist programs. Coincidentally, these programs always need to be “reformed”, “fixed”, or “changed”. The services are always the subject of debate, and there is always an individual or group of individuals that are abused, neglected or rejected by these programs. Their need to constantly be modified is their fatal conceit. The only reason these programs are debated so heavily and their impacts are felt so deeply is because they are systems the Federal Government was never designed to get involved with.
There is a much more concerning trend among voters. I witnessed people with an outright contempt for their own Liberty. There’s a vast difference between being apathetic about the erosion of personal and economic Liberty and actively seeking to remove it from their lives. When people seek to limit their own choices and remove their own option to participate freely in a program, they are actively seeking to give away their freedom, voluntarily placing themselves in slavery to other people’s will. They assume they will always have control over the program so long as they can exercise their vote. However, people all over the world are expressing their disgust with their lack of connection to their Government.
Representative Justin Amash is right to stick to the Constitution. He understands the game of inches and the importance of sticking to the facts. Even when mocked openly by his detractors, quoting Thomas Jefferson speaking negatively about “people of color” while bringing up the Federalist Papers, he was quick to diffuse the situation instead of pointing out that Thomas Jefferson was a slave owning Democrat, not a Federalist. There were many opportunities to treat his detractors with equal measures of disrespect and hostility and point out the flaws in socialist programs. Instead, he remained calm, cool and collected, something supporters of Liberty could stand to learn from. Emotion is a powerful tool of change, and has been effectively used by the left and the right to erode the obstacles of Liberty to centralize control and power over the general population.