I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Big Government vs little government

“A government that is big enough to give you everything you want,
 is big enough to take from you everything that you have.” 
The above quote was used in an earlier post by Wayne to point out the dangers of  the government forcing us to do something "for our own good".
1.  What else does a government do besides force us to do things that are for our own good?  Why else was government even invented?  Nobody likes it but the reasonable person can see the reasons why it is absolutely necessary.  Even our little Home Owners Association has, as reason for existence, that "everyone cannot be trusted to do what ever they want without doing harm to the others in the subdivision".  Eventually someone is going to, just for example, paint their house a color that everyone else agrees is horrid and brings down the average property values just by its presence.  So while "forcing us to do things that are "for our own good"" sounds absolutely unAmerican and indefensible, in fact that is what government is for.  Basically there is no other reason to have it and it speaks to the fact that when you get right down to it people will not agree on what is "for our own good"...not even on the simplest of things.  If one wants to never have any other force them to do something for their own good then they should, from a practical standpoint, live the life of a hermit.  Kind of like the uni-bomber without the bombing.  But that's not really practical for the sane person.
2.  There has never been a government that has been big enough to give everybody everything they want.  I guess ours is big enough to give a small few everything they want, and them some, but not everybody everything they want.  Will there ever be a government big enough to do that? I don't know?  And if a government was big enough to give everybody what they want would that necessarily mean that that government would take everything that everybody has.  I don't know that.  It's an interesting discussion.  Some would say that since the government could, they would.  Others would say that it depends on the government.
3.  This may be the most important point.  There is not one government in the industrialized world that is not big enough to take everything that their citizens have.  So we are there already.  The question is, is that automatically a bad thing.  This seems to be where the conservatives and liberals often clash.
I have spent most of my life as a conservative Republican and I bought into all of Ronald Reagan's criticisms of "Big Government" and even Government in general.   "The biggest lie you can hear is 'hi I'm from the government and I'm here to help you'."  Hahahaha.  so true, so true.  Or... is it?  If I need a fireman, don't I call the government and I hope to hear very quickly "hi I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."  Well Yipee!! Get with it!  If I am a farmer and I'm having some trouble with my crops that can be very serious to my livelihood I will likely speak to the local Dept of Agriculture rep at some point and it is my understanding they can be quite helpful.  It doesn't take much thought to come up with endless examples of needing something from the government that is a good and reasonable expectation.  It's easier to think of it in the negative if you think of the government as some generic negative cloud that hangs over everything sucking the economic life out of everything else.  For example, many criticize the postal service as being the ultimate in inefficiency and bloat.  But it is my understanding that we have had the most desirable postal system in the world for a long long time.  The current transition we are in to electronic communication from physical paper delivery is most definitely a genuine hurdle which I see them working on even now.  But, what is their national calling as the nation's postal delivery service?  I would not want to go forward at this time without one.  So I say they should carry on, losses and all.  We citizens need that service to be there.  The country needs that service to be there.  I hasve been receiving my mail everyday but Sunday, including hurricanes, for my whole life.  If it can be made more efficient then do so, but let's not pull the plug on it just yet.
Those who are still in that groove where they think "small government" is better than "big government" have every right to believe that, of course.  But I would urge everyone to think about what parts of the government specifically you feel comfortable getting rid of.  Generally what I get from people when I ask them that, if they haven't already walked off in disgust at such a stupid liberal question (I do live in a very conservative district in Texas) , is "there's a lot of waste in the government", although they don't name the specific waste they are referring to, or criticism of some study they heard about where some scholastic types were trying to find out what the warthog does on its day off or some such nonsense.  Then of course I get the attacks on the government giving money to people who don't try to do for themselves.  I don't know anyone who thinks that is a good thing, liberal or conservative.  It's a red herring that gets thrown a lot!  I will work side by side with anyone who wants to come up with a system that no one can cheat.  and short of that I will work side by side to punish those who do cheat.
But think about all the things the government does that allow us to just walk around feeling safe pretty much 24 hours a day.  I don't think much about what's in my water or my food or underground or next door or in the air, or whether my purchased products are safe.  I feel fairly safe that our justice system will treat me fairly if I get involved with it.  Our government supplies us with so much freedom.  Yeah, it sounds weird but it's accurate.  It is that freedom from so much worry that we would otherwise be saddled with that benefits every American that is one of the reasons that our enemies hate us.  We, generally speaking, are so comparatively worry free while so many people in the world have to worry about so much every day.  I have more to say on this later.

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