We the People, free to recycle or not

“He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out of their substance.” — America’s Declaration of Independence.

King George III had nothing on today’s America. I am reminded constantly of the line in the movie, “the Patriot,” when the main character asks, “Why would I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away, for three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

We have no fewer than five distinct governments bossing us around and taxing us today (federal, state, county, municipal and school) and each of them have a multitude of offices (including authorities, councils, agencies, commissions, etc.) staffed with swarms of officers harassing what are supposed to be sovereign citizens.

We the People should be free to run our own lives.

Some of the offices that are most damaging to our liberty are the ones concerning themselves with environmental issues.

They would be admirable if they properly addressed environmental issues with a focus on securing liberty through the protection of property rights. Instead, they trespass on property and look at free enterprise as a problem to be tackled by imposing government mandates.

It has become so outrageous that there are edicts directing us, in our very homes, to sort trash.

If religion is defined as a belief and value system unresponsive to evidence and analysis, then environmentalism certainly qualifies.

Most of its adherents are such zealots that they seek to force their values on everyone through state compulsion.

Last I checked, we were supposed to have separation of church and state in America, but the eco-vangelists have been imposing their beliefs on all of us through government.

Liberty be damned.

The eco-vangelists like to claim that recycling is always and everywhere a good thing. Some even say it is 100 percent efficient, lowers business costs, and has benefits without end.

Of course, if any of that were true, then no government mandates would be necessary-people and businesses always choose less cost and more benefit. The eco-vangelists counter that people just aren’t as enlightened as they need to be, and it is government’s job to force people to promote the common good.

Condescension is no small part of tyranny.

Unrelentingly the eco-vangelists talk about education. But it’s not the education of Plato, where people learn to think and act for themselves that they want; but rather, they push the “education” of Chairman Mao, where everyone is supposed to think alike and act in the manner that the state directs.

Even if we were to discover that the benefits of recycling were everywhere and always greater than its costs (about the most silly idea ever), would it justify allowing government to take away our liberty?

The answer depends on whether or not you believe that government should be limited to securing our rights to life and liberty, or has some greater purpose for its powers of coercion. I answer the question in the negative.

As Lord Acton wrote, “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.”

To be clear, I have no disdain for people who voluntarily recycle. The evidence is that, in some cases, it can be a good thing.

But a society-wide mandate enforced by government that includes swarms of official and officious busybodies directing our behavior in our homes and in our commerce is not worthy of our American heritage.

State Rep. John McGinnis, R-Altoona, represents the 79th District.