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  • WilcoxenBy Matts Wilcoxen, YAF Chapter Chair, Principia Upper School

    “Eat your vegetables.” The expression so feared by millions of children just became a little less worrisome, thanks to the benevolent guidance of the federal government.

    Last November—as the executive and legislative branches dueled over whether or not schools should consider the half cup of tomato paste contained in pizza a vegetable—the national debt continued to swell to unprecedented levels. What should have been a brief discussion between local school administrators quickly turned into a landmark of legislative comedy.

    It’d be Funny if it Wasn’t True

    As comical as the recent agriculture appropriations bill may have appeared to the casual viewer of the evening news, it is emblematic of a fundamental concern of conservatives. When it becomes the responsibility of the federal government to dictate what is and is not a vegetable, government has grown to an unconscionable size. 

    Government this grandiose and expansive is innately inefficient. When our legislators are responsible for everything from vegetables to the War on Terror, effective governance cannot exist. Individual freedoms, and the responsibilities of state and local governments rapidly vanish as federal government expands.

    Our Constitution places strict constraints on the role of the federal government. Decisions about the value of tomato paste do not fall within the constitutional purview of the Congress, or the presidency.

    The Government is not my Father

    As the burgeoning federal government expands in its self-prescribed responsibility to act in loco parentis for the American people, the states, and local governments, it manages to continue to ignore it’s true responsibilities. Instead of dictating to local schools what is and isn’t a vegetable, perhaps they should focus on the mushrooming deficit and ensuring a strong national defense.

    We’re told which light bulb to buy, which healthcare to purchase, and which mortgage to take (yet it is left up to our own prerogative whether or not to kill unborn children.) Does it not seem ironic that we entrust the federal government to make our financial decisions for us?

    Government’s primary responsibility is to remain limited. By ignoring their true responsibilities, our representatives choose to bicker about tomato paste, and in doing so betray the futures of young people.

    Dear Nanny State, Don’t Tread on Me

    Paternal government is inherently un-American because it assumes that the American citizenry is unable to care for itself. This dangerous assumption strikes at the heart of the principles of small government and individual responsibility. Principles that are fundamental to the survival of our republic.

    If our government is to solve the colossal issues facing this nation it must first purge itself of federal tomato paste mandates.

    Mattson Wilcoxen is the chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Principia Upper School. To start a YAF chapter at your school or college, fill out this form: *Apply for a YAF Chapter*

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