Liberty is difficult, complicated and rewarding

The tea party movement started three years ago on April 15, 2009. It brought many positive changes to states likeVirginia,Florida,Wisconsin,Indiana, andLouisiana. But so far, it has had very little success here inNew Jersey. would like to change that by urging tea party conservatives to first make it clear what we are for ? not just what we are against.

We should make it clear that we are for liberty and prosperity (New Jersey?s motto since 1776), and that we can?t get prosperity until we first have liberty.

Liberty is a difficult and complicated concept. It is based on the understanding that no human being or collection of human beings ? not even an overwhelming majority ? is smart or honest enough to decide what is best for any other human being.

Where there is liberty, it means that no government forces any competent adult to do or pay for anything against his or her will, unless force is needed to prevent one individual from harming another, or depriving another of his or her ?unalienable rights.?

Liberty is difficult and complicated because defending liberty often means protecting the rights of people we don?t like, who don?t like us, or who are doing things we think are wrong or offensive and would never do ourselves.

Defending liberty often means opposing government programs or projects like museums, stadiums, movie theaters, convention centers, or shopping centers that we personally think are very worthwhile and important ? because it is wrong to force others to pay for things against their will, unless they are used by the entire community (like roads) or in some way protect the unalienable rights of a citizen.

Defending liberty is often difficult and unpopular. But where citizens defend liberty, they are rewarded with prosperity.

At one time we in the United Statesenjoyed more liberty than any other country in the world. That is why we enjoyed more prosperity as well, and Americans were far more generous than any other people in voluntarily giving charity to those less fortunate.

But now the people ofHong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada,Chile,Mauritius, and Ireland enjoy more liberty than we do. And they are now either more prosperous than we are, or quickly getting there.

Liberty creates prosperity in many ways. With liberty, governments are more honest because they only make laws that apply equally to everyone. They have very low taxes because government only spends money on personnel that are needed by everyone such as county clerks and surrogates to record public documents, a judges, police, prisons etc. to enforce laws and contracts. And it only builds things that are used by almost everyone like roads, bridges, schools, and parks.

When government tries to ?stimulate the economy? or do ?economic development? by going into the convention business, the baseball business, the hockey business, the shopping center business, and now with Revel, the casino business, lots of bad things happen.

First, government gets too corrupt. Now private businesses need special favors from politician to succeed ? and they reward bad officials and keep them in office with big campaign contributions.

Second, government gets too complicated for citizens to know if the politicians they elect are doing a good job or a bad job. It is easy to see how your mayor or township committee is cleaning and paving the streets or running the police department. It is impossible know if politicians on some authority you never heard of are doing a good job when they build a stadium, a convention center, or a casino.

Third, government gets too expensive. Taxpayers spent $268 million on a new convention center in Atlantic City that is empty most of the time, and $100 million to turn the old convention center in a Boardwalk Hall for a Miss America Pageant and hockey team that are both long gone.

Taxpayers paid $15 million on a stadium for a failed private baseball team, and a fortune on ?outlet? stores in Atlantic City that unfairly compete with stores that must pay their full share of taxes. It probably cost taxpayers more than $400 million to bail out the Revel Casino project so far.

Atlantic City thrived in the 1930s when the rest of the country was in the Great Depression. At that time, we had no CRDA, Tourism District, Atlantic City Alliance, ?public-private partnerships? or improvement, transportation, sports exposition or utilities authority. We only had liberty ? and that was more than enough.

(Reprinted from February 22, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties,

Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see, email
or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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