Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Against Big Government

A friend recently sent around an email with this quote:
"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931
To which I responded:

"Though I agree with much of the sentiment here, it strikes me as ironic when:

1) some of the same people who probably hailed this quote as worthy a couple years ago proceeded to take billions from the government to save their golden parachutes from financial companies.

2) other people will fight any attempts to stop a gravy train that runs directly (e.g., defense industry) or indirectly (e.g., health care industry) from the government to their yachts, cars, and homes.

Sorry to be a hater, but there are those who have been fortunate and who benefit from a bloated and inefficient government, but don't mind as long as the big government is lining their pockets. They only complain when people they don't hang out with are getting stuff."

I know Mrs. Kid will say this is just another example of me being argumentative. She has heard me argue with both of our staunchly liberal mothers. Relative to them, I can be seen as on the other side of this debate. My mother and mother-in-law probably think I am uber-Republican. Meanwhile, the folks to whom I replied with the email above could think I am a big-government defender. Regardless, I'm OK with being labeled argumentative.

I think that government is inefficient and too big, but I am very cynical. I distrust anybody who has ideas about what should be cut. The people who annoy me the most are people who claim to want limited government, but have made their money from the government. If these people want small government so badly, they can start by giving back their expensive homes and BMW convertibles.


Anonymous said...

I'm in precisely the same boat insofar as my observation that everybody is out for themselves, and that there is no "simple" answer.

If it were a simple problem we'd have solved it by now.

Instead, I assert this: anybody who is functioning with what they perceive to be "moral clarity" is either woefully uninformed, selling something, or a fool.

Side note: Buddy of mine is currently deployed in Africa "winning hearts and minds." His comments regarding how things are run there -- comparing different countries and the people therein -- is fascinating. He basically said that the folks who were recently colonies and were cut loose -- and are now receiving welfare -- have zero drive or pride, and expect to be taken care of.

Conversely, the self-reliant folks living in mud huts in another country are equally (if not more) poor, but they have drive and pride.

Life is complex, and thinking there are easy fixes to complex problems is folly.


reston kid said...

Amen. I think this sort of thinking also helps explain the plight of blacks in America, but that is probably the core of another entry (which I will start working on shortly).

Anonymous said...

1) I pointed buddy in Africa to this post, and he approved. :)

2) Blacks in America: Yes. To that end, let me throw in a little Biblical history...

According to Jewish teaching, part of the reason God kept the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years -- the average lifespan back then -- was to kill off all the folks who had grown up as slaves. Those who had been born and raised as slaves had a hard-wired mentality to think as slaves, not as free men. Harsh, but true.

Instead, their children/ grandchildren -- who were raised free and self-reliant in the desert -- assumed control of the Promised Land, and had the mentality to handle it responsibly and intelligently.

Like astronauts without gravity to force their bodies to retain bone density and muscle mass, slavery and welfare encourage a level of dependence -- emotional and intellectual atrophy. People will grow accustomed to that dependence. (Awkward comparison with the astronauts, but I think you see where I'm going.)

Anyway. I'll be watching for your future post. And anytime you wanna go get a beer and chat about politics/sociology, I'm down -- and I'll buy the first round. :)