Friday, November 12, 2010

In Defense of Pain

This column is part one of a two part column on my thoughts on the role of government, and how they pertain to the USA today. Part one deals more with theory.

Our nation is moving ever more quickly towards financial disaster. We cannot sustain the current amount of government spending. Already, we are looking at paying $1 trillion in interest on our loans by 2020, a sum which will keep on growing. So, there need to be cuts. Dramatic cuts. We are here because citizens have come to expect too much out of government. We keep demanding more and more, and to be elected politicians have to promise more. This model of governance is simply unsustainable.

People need to get serious fast about the role government can play in their lives. First and foremost, I would like to clarify to progressives everywhere that government is not there to solve every individual's problems. It is not there for equality of lifestyle, it is not there to make sure everyone has a rosy life filled with cupcakes and puppies. Every time a people has risen up against a ruling class to try to make a completely egalitarian society, the experiment has failed on epic proportions. Rosseau's writings fueled the French Revolution, and look what happened there. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in the name of some abstract "liberty", and France was back to monarchy in the 19th century. Pointing to the USSR as an example of the shortcomings of socialism may be cliched, but it underlines my point.

Government is there to help you live your life. It is there to make sure no one holds you back in an egregious manner, and is there to take care of those things that you can't take care of yourself. One of the most cherished principles of our colonial era was the Subsidiarity Principle. Simply put, the smallest and most local unit of government that can handle an issue can do so to the best effect, and should do so. The state legislatures of our colonial period concerned themselves with defense against indians and facilitating commerce between towns, and let all other matters fall to the individual townships. Our country was settled by fiercely independent and precocious religious outcasts to the North and commercial visionaries to the South. We must continue in the footsteps in our ancestors and demand not that the government takes care of life for us, but just that it ensures that we have the power to take care of our own lives.

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