In the last post in this series, Part 1, we listed four Commonly Held False Starting Assumptions About Government. In this post we will examine the consequences of those faulty assumptions.
Why do we need a government? When we imagine our nation without a government, that question seems deceptively easy to answer. We just look at what our government does, and we assume that our government does what it is suppose to do. We should carefully examine that assumption. Even though our government may be better than most, there remains vast room for improvement.
The Consequences of False Starting Assumptions
False Assumption Number 1
Government exists to take care of us.
The founders believed we need a government to protect our rights. However, so-called taxpayer investments just steal wealth from one group of people and give it to another. If any individual were to take money from one person just to give it to another, we would rightfully call that stealing. When government steals on our behalf, it is still stealing; it is just legal.
Comics linked to comics.com.
Of course, getting thieves to stop stealing does present a problem. We do like our illgotten goodies.
False Assumption Number 2
Government exists to run the economy.
We love to condemn politicians. After all, don’t they do the very same thing to each other? Don’t we have their own example? Nonetheless, when we condemn politicians, we tend to forget is the problem resides not with them, but with us. We give them the power they abuse.
If we must have a government powerful enough to to protect our rights, then we cannot avoid giving that government some influence over the economy. Nonetheless, we must constantly distinguish between government policies that protect us from each other and government policies that force our practices upon each other. That is, we don’t want our government officials “investing” in their own preferred solutions. We just want them to protect us from business people who would force the cost of their unwise business choices upon the innocent.
Let’s illustrate the problem. What about a business that chooses to pollute? We want that business, not the community around it, to pay for the cost of the cleanup. What we do not want is for government, using pollution as an excuse, to order businessmen to produce their products and services in accordance with detailed government specifications.
False Assumption Number 3
Elections choose the best qualified people to run things.
When we hold an election, we empower the winners to protect our rights. If these people choose to abuse their authority, then the results of that election loses its moral foundation.
Consider the election of the Hamas controlled government in the Gaza Strip, Hamas takes control of Gaza Strip. We chose to ignore the results of that election. Why? Even though we did not question the results of the election, we knew it would be immoral to acquiesce to Hamas’ demands.
Similarly, even though our government’s leaders may fairly elected, there is no guarantee what they wish to do will be moral. Thus, we must restrain their powers, and our own evil impulses, with Constitutional government.
False Assumption Number 4
The law says whatever the expert says it says.
Except for one important difference, our politicians are just like the rest of us. That difference? Our politicians are the world’s best salesmen.
What a salesman wants to do above all other things is to sell his product. So Republicans their politicians, and Democrats sell their politicians. Each party packages their politicians with slogans and programs designed to enhance their popularity.
If our leaders do not believe we will gracefully accept the truth, then many of them will tell us what they believe we want we want to hear. Too few will say the words we need to hear. Even though we make a big deal of our leaders, what we get from our government is a reflection of our own moral strengths, not theirs.
Next up: Part 3 will consider Sean’s proposal: What Are President Barack Obama’s Objectives?