Thanks to a proclamation handed down last year by our benevolent overlords in the Idaho Legislature, March 4th is now known as “Idaho Day”—or at least it is supposed to be so recognized within the borders of the state. The selection of the date for this fabricated holiday is based on the day Idaho became a territory, over a century and a half ago.
A strong supporter of Idaho Day, Rep. Linden Bateman suggests, “The more we learn about Idaho, the more we will love her and the more we love her, the more we will want to serve her.” Forgive me if my cold heart lacks the necessary ‘love’ to consider service to a state an admirable or commendable goal.[Tweet “If Idaho Day is to be recognized, it should be as a day of mourning. “]
The Idaho Legislature has seen fit over the last few years to force upon Idahoans the tyranny of Obamacare by establishing a state exchange, to increase taxes and fees and to restrict workplace freedom by enacting numerous regulations and occupational licensure mandates. This year they are on course to double down on many of these same intrusions. They have spent days listening to testimony on a bill to curtail property rights, but refuse to hear legislation to enact permitless carry or to free Idahoans from the burden of Common Core’s SBAC tests.
Raising taxes is widely viewed by lawmakers as a necessary inevitability despite the fact general fund revenue continues to increase under Idaho’s already onerous confiscatory tax policies. We are perpetually sold the line that more spending is the answer to deficiencies in education, health care and infrastructure despite the fact that bigger government always leads to decreased productivity and prosperity.
If Idaho Day is to be recognized, it should be as a day of mourning. A rich and beautiful land with abundant resources is being increasingly mismanaged and controlled by central planners who believe eminent domain, urban renewal, zoning laws, building codes, licenses, permits, certificates and a host of other limitations on human freedom and indeed on human flourishing are the solution rather than the problem.
The vast untapped potential—for both wealth and freedom—of the land known as Idaho remains unrealized because its inhabitants are shackled by government oppression. The dangerous superstition that liberty must be constrained by bureaucrats and lawmakers is widely accepted and can be seen in the myriad laws and regulations under which Idahoans languish.
I won’t be celebrating Idaho Day; I won’t pretend to applaud governments or the lines they draw to divvy up their power. I will, however, continue my efforts to advance the cause of freedom whenever and wherever I can. There may not be a holiday to celebrate my endeavors, but if I can help to remove government-created obstacles to human action, that’s all the reason I’ll ever need to celebrate.
Dustin Hurst: Idaho isn’t perfect, but let’s celebrate it anyway