A plausible argument can be made that the problems of American culture and society today are simply the inevitable outcomes of decisions and non-decisions during decades gone by. What ails us now might just be, when you drill down beneath the screechy surface of much of what passes for thoughtful analysis and commentary, the inevitable blowback of shortsightedness and stupidity born in academia, broadcast by our mass media, and burnished by Hollywood—before finally blowing up in our faces today.
A half century of “anything goes” behaviors features the following:
What is truly amazing about this list is that so many look to government and its long arm, which in many cases is either the root cause or facilitator of these problems, for solutions and salvation. No course of action could be more wrongheaded than this.
However, the impulse to look to our elected officials to save us is perfectly understandable. We are constantly told by the liberal media and politicians that wise government, run by experts and funded by our tax dollars, will now provide the protections that have been stripped away from us—often by actively damaging public laws and policies of the past. The bizarre circularity of this logic is breathtaking.
Government excels at one task above all other: creating problems that it can later tax us in order to pretend to fix. Pick a problem—any problem—and you will often find government “help” in the past ether started or accelerated it. Expecting that today elected officials and bureaucrats will provide the security we crave is only marginally more sensible than asking the jerk who just punched out your front teeth to protect you from further harm. Abusers will keep right on abusing you as long as you let them, and much of what government does today can rightly be classified as abuse. It’s sad, but it’s true
Why is it that government help typically causes harm? The core problem is that most “solutions” that government offers continue to admit the most important components of a happy and productive lives: personal responsibility, individual initiative, and self-discipline. Almost inevitably government enables those behaviors most likely to further ruin lives because to do otherwise would apparently lack “compassion” and be “judgmental”. To try to understand why policies that promote stupidity are compassionate—and noting choices that are apt to damage your life or the lives of others is judgmental—is to attempt to explain that which lacks all logic and reason.
As a result, we pay for schools that don’t educate, healthcare that is ruinously expensive, bureaucracies that serve no discernible purpose, government agencies that apparently hate those whom they govern, and armies of experts whose only apparent expertise is grifting for government grants. Those functions of government that should comprise its core missions—public health and safety, effective and accountable public schools, creating conditions for economic growth through private sector investment, financially sustainable retirement programs for seniors, and avoiding any unwarranted impingement on personal freedoms—seem to many times be the opposite of what actually occurs. We are instead burdened by taxes, blitzed by regulations, and battered by someone else’s ideas about how we are supposed to live our own lives. Many Americans have already figured out the truth: “This just ain’t right.”
The smartest strategy for citizens today is to vote against anyone who claims they can solve our problems. Politicians and their promises typically fail because government interventions by their very nature promote passivity and reduce independent thought—someone else is suddenly in charge of your basic life decisions and direction. All that is required of the individual being “helped” is dull obedience to a set of rules designed to keep them dumb and dependent, which clearly will damage their lives even further.
We should instead insist local government limit itself to paving roads and painting the park benches while pursuing those functions critical to maintaining public health and safety. State government must keep taxes low, business regulation light, and promote accountability at all levels of government while rooting out corruption and theft by public officials. The federal government can provide overall coordination of state and local governments while keeping our nation strong and secure by pursuing military, economic, and foreign policies that put America’s interests first and foremost. This is not a complete list, but these broad guidelines suggest that a lot of government workers could be eligible to be outsourced if we can find the will to force the changes that are desperately needed to get our nation back on track.
As we have already repeatedly seen, cutting the size of government is like trying to saw through an oak tree with a butter knife. The massive effort involved to make the least progress is designed to dishearten and discourage us. However, cutting government, which both wastes our money and creates its own purpose for being by encouraging behaviors that destroy individuals, families, and communities is the only way out of the mess we are in today.
It is best that we control our own lives and solve our problems for ourselves; big government is “the God that failed” and needs to be reduced to a subordinate role in our lives.