By Mark Richards, resident of West Milford and guest contributor
Published in West Milford AIM on November 16, 2007 and also in Suburban Trends November 11, 2007

In a recent “Guest Contributor” column, a writer expressed are discussed with Congressman Scott Garrett’s voting record. She was also upset that three local candidates appeared in a photo in another newspaper with Congressman Garrett.

I have to be honest, I voted for Scott Garrett once in 2002, the first time he ran for Congress. I truly hoped that he would be another force for individual liberty, limited constitutional government and free market economics, like the truly great and principled Congressman Ron Paul of Texas (the only sane presidential candidate of those Republicans seeking the 2008 nomination.)

Sorry to say, Garrett has been a disappointment. He is a Republican first and a defender of the Constitution only second. If the current occupant of the White House wants a certain policy to be followed or law enacted, Garrett goes right along with our “Simpleton–in–Chief.”

This is not to say the Garrett doesn’t get it right sometimes. All the cases the writer of the recent piece complains about are instances in which Garrett was following the Constitution.

The writer is under the assumption that it is a function of government to provide health care, help natural disaster victims and control workers wages. Sorry, but there is no provision in the Constitution (see article 1, section 8) for Congress to be legislating on, or funding any of these activities.

It is also unfortunate that the writer chose to question Garrett’s Christian faith because of his voting record. She evidently is one of those who adheres to the view of “if Jesus were on earth today, he’d advocate a socialist redistribution of the wealth policy” or similar nonsense!

Yours truly is no theologian or religious zealot of any sort, but I do seem to remember something from Sunday school in which the Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal,” which indicates to me a respect for the private property of others – a concept of all collectivist philosophies reject, since they believe that the “greater good” is more important than the individual. Even if the Bible had never been written or religion of any kind ever started, it was still be wrong to forcibly take the property or wealth of another, even for what might seem like a lofty goal (assisting those less fortunate for example).

As a Libertarian, I regret having to make this assessment of my fellow Americans, but the fire and passion for liberty and individualism is almost out in this country. Americans sit back and tolerate all kinds of infringements on their liberties, zoning laws, gun laws, drug laws, seat belt laws, “hate crime” laws that interfere with free speech, environmental laws (like the Highlands Act) that crippled the construction industry, so-called national security laws like the “Patriot Act” which also intimidates free speech, the list goes on and on!

Will the sheep ever wake up and then revolt? One can only hope!