A recent opinion column needs a response (“Govern Locally and Protect Liberty” by Rep. Lewis Moore, Edmond Sun Opinion, Dec. 7, 2013). Moore’s tea bags are dripping all over this screed of irresponsible rhetoric. There are some out here who do not agree with him. I will try to explain why.
First of all we are living in the 21st century, not some 18th century frontier land. The legendary mountain man of old had a great deal of freedom. He could build his cabin wherever he chose (no zoning rules), kill whatever was convenient for food (no wildlife protection laws), dump his refuse in the river (no EPA or drinking water standards), kill at will whoever he felt was invading his territory (no rule of law or enforcement agency).
Yes, the mountain man had a great deal of freedom, but is there anybody out there today who would like to live that way? There was a constant threat of starvation (food had to be hunted, gathered and prepared), there was constant fear of becoming a victim of that lawless condition (someone may invade without your knowing it), if you got sick you probably died (no system of health care was available), traveling anywhere was difficult (no public road system), communication was nearly impossible (no public system of transmitting messages).
When the mountain man came down and joined civilized society he gave up some of those so-called freedoms to do whatever he wanted, and gained new freedoms that require a more disciplined approach: Freedom from hunger (other people shared), freedom from fear (a community of people institute laws), freedom from loneliness (humans need companions).
Second, Moore’s vision already has been tried, tested and proved unworkable. After declaring independence from Great Britain the states formed a loose association governed by a set of rules called the Articles of Confederation. Each state had considerable freedom to do whatever they wanted within their own boundaries. About the only duty of the federal government was to make treaties with foreign nations. It was charged to provide a common defense, but it had to ask the states individually to provide funds and manpower.
By 1788 chaos reigned; each state jealously protected its commercial interests, shipment between states was hindered by interstate fees, arguments about who should pay for common defense and infrastructure threatened to become violent. A constitutional convention was called that resulted in our current working document The Constitution of the United States.
Third, Moore’s vision exists in parts of the world today: Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, the Congo. Each of those nations are composed of competing tribes or entities constantly battling each other to gain supremacy. In each case there is no overriding rule of law that applies to all of them. Perhaps Moore and his friends would like to move to one of those countries if they like that political system so much.
Fourth, if Moore likes James Madison he should remember that as the primary architect of the Constitution, Madison helped write the Preamble, which states that one of the purposes of the Constitution is to “form a more perfect union.” Moore seems to have no interest in forming a union, his whole purpose is to break up the United States into a conglomeration of weak, divided entities that have no common interests. This would inevitably result in the dissolution and destruction of our proud nation.
LEAMAN D. HARRIS is an Edmond resident.