The anarchists suggest that we totally do away with all government, and the pure capitalists call for their governments to totally get out all business dealings so that everything can function naturally. Both believe that government is a bad thing, and both are gaining momentum in this country.
However no one is calling for an end to such things as police departments, the FBI or the armed forces. All of the government enforcement agencies are there because people just aren’t always nice. Pride and greed creep in when people think that no one is watching (as happened recently from the deregulation of banks and Wall Street). That’s why governments are necessary – to keep bad stuff out, injustice at a minimum, and some basic order in place to assure our safety and welfare.
Of course, every nation in the world has some form of government. Most nations today have discovered that a democratic, representative government, where the people elect lawmakers, works best. It’s not perfect, but it appears to be a lot better than anything else. It allows for a maximum of freedom with a minimum of control. In seems clear that we must have governments and a democratic government is the best.
But there is also a lot of talk about having a small, scaled-back government that would leave most things to the states. But we need to remember that the government we have now was not the first government this country had. After being ruled by a huge dictatorship (England), the people decided then that they wanted a really small government. Thus they established the Articles of Confederation allowing the states to do most things. It didn’t work. (It hasn’t worked in the European Union these days either.) Thus the Constitution was finally drawn up to establish a strong, central, powerful government. It’s worked very well.
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Most nations have now discovered that the size of a government does not really matter if it is fully accountable to the people. In fact nations such as Great Britain, Switzerland, Japan, Germany and all of Scandinavia have recently enlarged the power and control of their central governments. Thus they have been able to address and fix many of the problems that plague us today. For instance, health care in these countries is now regulated and controlled so that health industries cannot take advantage of this crucial need that everyone must have. Because we have not been able to address this, we have poor health care (we are listed at number 37 among first world nations) that costs this country 10 times more than the others. These other countries believe that health care for everyone is crucial and should thus be strictly regulated to assure the health and welfare of all the people.
We have been crippled in doing this because of the lobbying or profiting groups instigating the hue and cry of “big government.” Many critical problems are being totally ignored. The military industrial complex adds to this outburst even though the military itself is larger in its expenditures than most other, world governments. The Republican Party is the most vocal while they have, in office, quadrupled the size of military spending fighting wars all over the world to triple our national debt. (At the peak of the Iraq War, 65 percent of our taxes were going toward the military.)
Whenever the government tries to take control or regulate something, we also hear the term “socialism” thrown around. (Of course, no one calls for an end to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, the armed forces, education, infrastructure maintenance, mail, and a whole host of other things taken over by the government). It is past time to stop our paranoid labeling and start properly ensuring our health, justice, peace and security. We desperately need to stop bashing this very sound government and start seriously addressing the obvious needs around us.
The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.