Several books of scripture, in multiple religions, record the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob and Esau are twins male children of Isaac and Rebekah. The boys were competitors for their entire lives. Esau acts outside his parent’s wishes in marriage, sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage (stew or beans; something cooked in a pot), and late in life is reconciled to Jacob even though his people continue to have animosity towards Jacob’s people to this day. While the story of these twin brothers remains useful to those in religion and teaches several morals of importance, Jacob and Esau represent a classic tale of why government should be limited in size and scope.
Genesis 27, Old Testament, contains the story of how Jacob obtains the birthright blessing, which had been sold to him by Esau for the aforementioned bowl of pottage. Consider with me what would have happened if the same bloated government we have right now had meddled in the affairs of Isaac, Jacob, and Esau. The cost of meddling in the internal family affairs, the government would have taken 40% inheritance tax. Esau would have always had the government as a millstone and ready excuse for not reconciling with Jacob, and lawyers and government officials would have further sundered the family.
Remember this, for it has importance in the following discussion, the government does not grant freedom, EVER! As described and stated in the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights, freedom comes from a power higher than government, and government was only, ever, instituted for the benefit of man. Ask yourself, is your government benefitting you?
I guarantee the answer is no; regardless of the political spectrum, you prefer. Why, because the government should not be exerting powers in areas that control or curtail the freedoms of the people. Esau never valued his birthright, so selling it was easy, and a bowl of pottage was a rich reward for something he did not value.
How expensive is government-funded medical treatment? Some will claim, but those receiving treatment never see a bill; really? Costs are more than merely a statement representing the need to pay money. What about the loss of privacy? What about the loss of freedom to choose what treatments and providers are best for you? What about the loss of innovation to the thumb of oppression from the government? What about the loss of self-reliance and the health benefits of independence? What about the destruction of your community and the connections people felt with and pride for community hospitals? What was lost when the medical community forced, through the abuse of government intervention, the knowledge of herbs for the sterility of Big Pharmaceutical drugs?
For the hope of a prosperous retirement, what was sold; freedom and money in the now. Yet, one should ask, where does the government get the power to take money, then give it back at some future point? Except, how many of those government retirement Ponzi Schemes are fully funded, even with all the money flowing in? The answer is as empty as Esau’s bowl. Still, the government continues to steal money through forced taxation and purchase the hopes and liberties of citizens for that hoped-for bowl of pottage, prosperity in retirement.
For the hope of reducing poverty, the government purchased a class of people whom they could abuse and ignite for political gain anytime they want or desire. To create this aggrieved class of people, the government took over welfare programs, bought people with bread and circuses, asked them to stay in government houses, live on government food, enjoy government-provided entertainment, etc. What was sold for this bowl of pottage; liberty, potential, freedom, upward mobility financially, safety and security, and hope. What has been the consequences of this purchase; a permanently aggrieved class of people who look longingly at another’s possessions and desire them through theft because hard work is racist, demoralizing, and stops the government handouts. Worse, the government had to grow in power and size to “manage” this class of people, creating those with six-digit salaries to rub the purchased people’s faces in the irony of what was lost in the purchase.
The United States has been waging a “War on Drugs,” almost since its founding. The government considers one drug “good,” mainly due to the ease of controlling it for taxation purposes, and another drug “bad.” Yet, how successful has it been in this “war?” Not at all, and its failures are increasing year-over-year, even while new methods of taxation are being invented to manage “legal drugs.”
Alcohol in the United States has had a history of acceptance, tolerance, legal banning, and returned to tolerance and acceptance, all through human desires, abuse of government powers, and the need for tax revenue. Sin taxes, the class of tax used to allow a citizen government approval to get drunk, stoned, or inject poison into their bodies, are among the highest taxes in America. Yet, the more the taxes increase, the more people want these products, and the more the government wants people to use these products, for we see the purchase of something transitory using something highly precious to barter. What is more precious than time and physical health, and what is purchased but something that can only temporarily ease pain or provide relief at best.
Tobacco has been a favorite drug of the government for its population to enjoy, pushing the popularity of the drug even while condemning and restricting how, when, where the drug can be enjoyed. Tobacco farmers have played vital roles in American history, and the product has been a significant cash crop for government revenue. Have you ever wondered where the money and research facilities originate to improve cigarette addiction? Have you ever considered where the marketing materials originated to pitch the health benefits of smoking? Do you realize that government is the biggest provider of money for research and marketing purposes? Never forget the government has become flush with cash, pushing tobacco, regulating tobacco, and licensing tobacco. Now ask yourself, why would the government give on the one hand and take on the other, because it is making money with both hands as people sell something precious for something valueless and transitory.
Do people get injured and need assistance; yes, but the government is never the answer to provide help. Are there those who are trying to thrive and escape poverty; yes, but the government is never the answer to providing help. A truth from time immemorial, governments do not produce anything; thus, the government must first take through legalized theft, taxation, and legal abuse to give to someone else. Every representative government must walk a balancing act between what a government is and what responsibilities a government must shoulder. Except, how many continue to make Esau’s mistake and sell something incredibly precious for something transitory and essentially valueless?
Worse, evaluate the consequences of allowing the purchase to occur. First, the seller experiences buyer’s remorse, anger, jealousy, regret, and the government making the purchase laughs, making the bitterness of the sell more poignant. Second, the seller needs an outlet for this buyer’s remorse. In an effort to continue to purchase while appeasing, the government allows the seller to go destroy the property and goods of another less politically connected person and calls this social justice. Third, the abused class of people who are not politically affiliated or are political rivals, whose property is being destroyed, looks on, and envy, malice, and contempt are bred, which furthers the goals and desires of the government.
Esau took a long time to be reconciled to Jacob, but it first required admitting that he had sold his birthright (something of great value) for something transitory and valueless (food). Jacob and Esau’s story remains of great importance and a cautionary tale, especially for understanding why government needs to be smaller, less involved, and less able to abuse the citizenry. For too long, the governments worldwide have either abused their powers to purchase or been established as a tyrannical and oppressive government. Either way, the government is the problem, and the answer continues to be the same, curb the government!
If COVID has taught the populations of the earth anything, let us learn this valuable lesson, the government is the problem, not the solution! The size of government is oppression, the cost of government is theft, and the loss of precious freedom and liberty for transitory and valueless gifts or benefits which come at too high a price in treasure and other precious resources. We, the owners and the abused of government, must change how we think and feel about the role of government before all is lost to the ever-hungry maw of government and self-interests!
© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images. Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.