A great deal of ruin in a nation

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Adam Smith became the Father of Economics, as well as one of history’s most eloquent defenders of free markets. “Adam Smith, who has strong claim to being both the Adam and the Smith of systematic economics, was a professor of moral philosophy and it was at that forge that economics was made,” said the late British economist Kenneth E. Boulding in paying tribute to his intellectual predecessor.

Asked if the loss of the American colonies would mean ruin for Britain, Adam Smith replied, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” Even after the loss, Britain went on to build a mighty empire.

Let’s hope the same holds true for this country.

When a Supreme Court justice says that a government edict likely violates the Constitution, but that he is going to allow it to remain in place anyway, we have a taken a step toward ruin. When the president says that an action he is considering probably violates the Constitution, but he takes it anyway, we have taken a leap.

For centuries, America has prospered on a Judeo-Christian ethos. Whether you’re a believer or not, if you stand on this ground, you benefit from a freedom and liberty grown from its intellectual soil and watered with its ancient principles of reason.

Ours is the great experiment. The sanctity of our laws is the catalyst of our growth and prosperity.

We are an aspirational society. Opportunity here is only limited by one’s desire and ability. Individual liberty is the engine to our productivity, ingenuity and prosperity. No liberty. No productivity. History, recent and distant, show that it really is that simple.

“Government is not the solution to our problems—government is the problem,” said President Ronald Reagan in his first inaugural address.

President Bill Clinton concurred.

“We know there’s not a program for every problem. We have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington. And we have to give the American people one that lives within its means. The era of big government is over,” said Clinton in his State of the Union address in 1996.

The fight for freedom is perpetual. As long as there are those yearning to be free, there will be those yearning to control them. It’s as inevitable as the eternal fight of good and evil. And as long as we’re breathing, it is not yet over.

Property owners, entrepreneurs and business operators built this great nation. We fight for it every day on the front lines of regulation, politics and contortions of the law.

The sanctity of a contract. Property rights. The Constitutional freedoms and liberties that afford us the opportunity to conduct business, within free markets, and absent government interference—these have built the foundation for a rich and prosperous nation.

The best way to help residents is to remove regulation and restrictions interfering with free market agency. Let builders build. Let landlords run their businesses at the market level.

For now, we can only hope that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.