statism ['ste?t?z?m]


(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, resulting in a weak position for the individual or community with respect to the government

We can all, for the most part, agree that concentrating too much power in one place is a recipe for the elimination of individual liberty.

Indeed, this coming election is -- in many ways -- a referendum on whether or not this nation will return to the foundational principles of the Constitution or a continued devolvement into the sort of centralized, intrusive state the founders rebelled against.

The problem is that while we decry the intrusions into our personal lives on subjects like health care or education, large important issues to be sure, we are blind to the intrusions much closer to hand which make us more likely to tolerate the larger infringements inflicted upon us by the federal government.

It's a simple reality few of us wish to face.

Statism begins at home.

It begins with small things, often at the city or county level.

It begins with well meaning regulations on things like when you can take your trash to the curb for pick up and regulations which can order you to return the cans to your house within a specified time frame.

Regulations which will force you to sell an old car you're fixing up in your driveway simply because the neighbors think it an eyesore regardless of current insurance and tags.

For the most part we accept these little annoyances, perhaps with some muttering under our breaths or a bit of table banging blustering down at the local coffee shop after we get a ticket.

A few of the most vocal of us might actually call our city councilman and blister his ear with little or no expectation anything will change.

And year by year the regulations mount in towns across the country, becoming just as stifling as the myriad federal regulations which intrude into our daily lives.

Little by little, bit by bit we become habituated. We learn to allow the intrusions.

We get broken to the harness.

Regulations and laws have so permeated our lives that I've heard estimates that the average person commits three felonies a day without even realizing it.

We must refuse to allow these intrusions any longer. We must stand and say "no" in the loudest possible terms every time a city council tries to pass a silly ordinance which has little effect but to inconvenience otherwise law-abiding citizens and enrich the city coffers with fines.

We must stand and say "no" whenever our state governments attempt to yet again tell us how we must educate our children and aye, tell the federal government the same thing.

I said statism begins at home, and so it does.

In our homes, every time we submit to the unwarranted intrusions into our lives by officious busybodies who think an election empowers them to tell us when to take out the trash.

Soon or late we must refuse to be harnessed further or we will wake up one day and find ourselves slaves and we will have done it to ourselves.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the CCNA. He can be emailed at Comment on this and other articles at