| August 28, 2013

Another example of ‘too much government’

It seems almost weekly that we hear about more intrusion by federal government agencies, such as the NSA, into the lives of citizens who are supposed to be free. When the government secretly invades the privacy of law-abiding citizens, attempts to intimidate the assembling of organizations like OCPA and ALEC, and uses the IRS to target those who don’t agree with President Barack Obama, reflection upon the words of the founding fathers is imperative.

Thomas Jefferson said: “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”Jefferson provided this vision for the proper role of government: “A wise and frugal Government shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

Treacherously, lawmakers and bureaucrats in Washington and Oklahoma have strayed from Jefferson’s fundamental approach to government. We have too much government, too much regulation, and too many taxes.

Individual liberty is most beneficial and best preserved by that limited government which has its basis in Thomas Jefferson’s approach to government. This also results in the correct benefit to society. Certainly we need limited criminal statutes, limited means to enforce those statutes, judges to adjudicate disputes, and possibly even limited regulation from agencies like the health department in order to “restrain men from injuring one another.” Unfortunately, this sort of government in no way resembles the government we have today, which seeks to remove all risk in life and often interferes with or removes the just results of one’s productive or unproductive behavior.

You may be thinking, “Okay, okay, I get that we have too much government at the federal level, but at the state level? C’mon.” If you need examples of too much government in Oklahoma, just talk to an entrepreneur or your employer. But, within the last couple of weeks I have been reminded of how deep state government can reach into even our personal lives.

In June, our family was blessed with the birth of our fourth child, a girl, Brooklynn Small. Shortly after Brooklynn’s birth, we began her involvement with government by completing the paperwork to file for a Social Security number and a birth certificate, as we had similarly done with our other children. But, unlike what occurred with the previous births of our children, we later received something new and disturbing from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. It was an apparently electronically generated card, congratulating us on the birth of Brooklynn. The card contained the following message:

“Every Oklahoma child is precious. Start immunizations by two months of age to keep your new baby healthy. Congratulations and remember to get those shots!” The message included a printed electronic signature from Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma.

The mailing also included a perforated growth chart and immunization record card to keep track of these records. The perforated card states the following: “These immunizations are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

”Why, in the free state of Oklahoma, in what is supposed to be a free country, is the Health Department tracking the birth of my child (who is not a ward of the state or in the state’s care) and sending me an unsolicited card to tell me how “to keep your new baby healthy”? The state has no business tracking me or my family — we are law-abiding citizens and are caring well for our children. This action by the state of Oklahoma is not following Thomas Jefferson’s vision.

There is a second concern with this card. Professional medical advice regarding vaccinations varies greatly, especially when considering the case of each individual child. We are following the advice of a licensed medical professional, and yet we won’t be administering all of those shots suggested. So, the state of Oklahoma just sent me unsolicited advice which is different from the advice of the licensed medical professional we consult. The state should not place blanket trust in and be an advocate for the CDC, as if the CDC or its staff are free from having their own agendas (see, for example, the CDC materials on adolescent sex, recall its past controversy in putting out dishonest information about HIV and heterosexuals, and note its former director who is now the president of Merck’s vaccine division, a significant producer of vaccines). The state should not place blanket trust in the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose positions may also be influenced by their own agenda (see their praise and advocacy for Obamacare, their positions on certain vaccines for all children—as if all children were sexually active—and other controversial policies).This and other experiences remind me of the words of another founding father, George Washington, “Government is not reason, nor eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”

It’s not just the NSA and the federal government that are threatening liberty of Oklahomans. This latest tracking and intrusion by the health department in my family’s life is just another example that shows, like the federal government, the overreach of state government must be vigilantly guarded against as well.

Loading Next