Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should We Ask the Government for Everything?

Have a favorite charity? Suffer from a devastating illness? Want a new museum in your community? Well just ask the federal government for money ... right? Wrong.

We have become so used to turning to the federal government for everything we want or need that we as a nation have long since forgotten the purpose of government - and perhaps worse yet, we have forgotten the difference between government and society. As Thomas Paine wrote “Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one ...”

Wanting to help find a solution to a problem, promote a worthy cause, find a cure for a disease are all honorable tasks and benefit society ... but funding for such endeavors should come from society – NOT from government. The more we turn towards government, the less we turn towards each other ... and individuals, neighborhoods and communities loose their sense of self and strength in the process.

It is time we Americans look to each other for creative answers to our problems ... and cut the strings which always come with government intervention and oversight. Let us reclaim society's blessings and further remember the "Common Sense" words of Thomas Paine ...

“SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer! Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others...”

For the complete text ...

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