“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
– Robert A. Heinlein, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”
I waver back and forth between hope and despair for my country. Sometimes – such as when I see the thousands of people flooding gun shows across the nation – I feel great hope. Other times I can’t believe my eyes or ears about how far our country has descended. “And you call yourself an American?” is my mental reply to far too many people.
One such person left a comment on my blog last week. “The whole idea of government,” she wrote (presumably with a straight face), “is to help people when they are down and to give them a leg up towards leveling the playing field of prosperity.”
Oh. My. Gosh. My eyeballs nearly fell out when I read that line. I don’t think I have ever seen a more succinct and concise misunderstanding of the purpose of government in my 50 years of existence on this planet.
If I could point out the single biggest vice Americans have embraced in the last two or three generations, it’s an entitlement mentality. In sharp contrast to the individualist vision of our Founding Fathers, too many people want a nanny state that will care for them from cradle to grave. To guarantee this lifetime of helplessness, these people actually attempt to restructure and re-interpret the Constitution and Bill of Rights to suit their helplessness and ensure the government will get involved in every aspect of our lives to “help people when they are down” and “level the playing field of prosperity.”
Rather than recognize the true purpose of government – to safeguard the individual rights given to us by our Creator (and by “safeguard” I don’t mean “take away”) – Americans have come to misunderstand what a right is.
When my blog reader said the purpose of government is to “help people when they’re down and … level the playing field of prosperity,” what she really meant was “something must be involuntarily taken (stolen) from one person and given to another person.” Believe me, that is NOT the purpose of government. Yes, that’s what government does; but that doesn’t make it right.
When did America become a nation of wimps, victims, cowards and helpless children? Why can’t people see the need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work their tails off and achieve success through own merit? If the government would butt out, success would be far more possible. And by “butt out,” I mean it from both ends of the spectrum. Stop the entitlements on one end, and stop the backroom sweetheart deals to banks and big corporations on the other end. Let everyone make it on his own merit, and use (private) charities for those who can’t.
It seems there is very little in America today that the government wouldn’t be delighted to take over, up to and including responsibility for any bad decisions we make. Rather than owning up to our mistakes, we have become a society that blames others for our own bad decisions, then demands a bailout. People prefer a nanny state. They want someone else to pay for bringing up their fatherless babies; to fund their overpriced college educations; to absorb the cost of inflated mortgages; to provide them with food and housing and cell phones and Internet service. Anything else? Caviar perhaps? A Ferrari? Free health care? Oh wait …
In other words, too many people want equality of outcome (leveling the playing field) rather than equality of opportunity.
Remember, since the government doesn’t produce anything (except threats), it can only take at the point of a gun. Government takes from those who have worked hard to earn something and gives it to those who haven’t. This is known as “leveling the playing field of prosperity.” And as Dan Cofall noted, “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”
This of course is why our Founding Fathers gave us a republic and not a democracy. The differences are critical. A democracy is Rule by Omnipotent Majority. “The Majority’s power is absolute and unlimited; its decisions are unappealable under the legal system established to give effect to this form of government. This opens the door to unlimited Tyranny-by-Majority.”
But a republic’s purpose “is to control the Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect the Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of the Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general.”
Right now America is illegally acting too much like a democracy, where half the population has economically enslaved the other half through their professional victimhood. This is because too many people have been taught that the purpose of government is “help people when they are down” and “level the playing field of prosperity.”
Another reader on my blog wrote, “Just because one is less fortunate, does not mean they are helpless. The system we currently have is making it easier to become dependent, and I see it everywhere where I live. [Government] programs are just making the problem worse … huge swaths of cities [are] doing it, on purpose. Ever heard of a bunch of teenage girls talking about getting pregnant on purpose when they’re 16 so they can get money from the government? I have, and my sister who works for the local police department sees this as a troubling trend, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what she’s exposed to every day.”
This – this! – is what America has become. We were once a proud nation of doers; now we’re a helpless nation of takers. And nothing will change unless and until the Nanny State is dismantled and we are once again allowed to stand on our own two feet and use our own charity to help those who can’t.
Remember: The government isn’t your friend, your parent, or your nanny. It is, at best, a necessary evil whose role is to perform a few very select and enumerated functions … and those functions do NOT include helping people when they are down or leveling the playing field of prosperity.