"The government ought to do something about that!" is an often heard expression. "There ought to be a law," many complain about situations with which they are frustrated. "The government shouldn't let them do that," say others..
Yet you hear: "Cops are pigs!" and "I don't have any faith in government anymore" and "What we need is less bureaucracy and more action."
A wise man once said: "He who is governed best is governed least." "Direction, restraint, control, rule, legislate" are all mentioned in the dictionary definitions of "govern" and "government." If you are unable to control the speed of your automobile, you can install a "governor" that will not allow you to exceed a certain speed. Obviously, certain safeguards are necessary for an ordered society in which the individual is free to exercise his freedom without fear of an ungoverned neighbor. But have we gone too far in government and so proscribed the freedom of the individual?
The framers of the Constitution of the United States of America and the proponents of the later, and most important, Bill of Rights had in mind freedom of the individual within an ordered society as opposed to the whim of monarchy or the desire of a despot. Most Western nations and many others around the world have long histories of the struggle for individual freedom resulting in what we call "democracy." It is best stated perhaps in that succinct phrase: "government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Yet it seems we have come almost full circle and now live under government nearly as oppressive as that which we rebelled against to gain our freedom. Our inalienable rights seem most abridged on the one hand and seem only effective in the case of criminals and revolutionaries on the other. The whole world seems mindlessly bent on maintaining the freedom of civil rights and human rights for those who are dedicated in open rebellion of word and deed to remove said rights from all others! Our very freedom provides a stumbling block for some and a tool for others.
The real problem is that the more we demand the government do for us, the less freedom of action we have left for ourselves.
At the same time that we shout that the government is responsible to the people, we also demand that the government take over our responsibilities. We finance the government. The more we demand of it, the more we pay. One out of four people works for the government in England; one out of five in the United States! We citizens complain, but pay the bill — and demand more government action (which will inevitably cost us more)!
Nowhere in the definition of "government" is the word "subsidy" or the phrase "social security" or the concept of the government paying you for not farming, working, producing. Yet we have demanded these things of government until individual freedom is restricted on every side — and we wonder why.
Let the government ensure the Social Security of old age interprets into a can of worms that makes us sick today. We have become numbers instead of names; our earning power is eroded by an ever increasing tax that is supposed to, but does not, care for those who were taxed before and are now living at and below the poverty level on "Security." We are told that by the time you and I become eligible to receive a portion of what we have already paid, the cupboard will be bare. We suffer from the burden of a massive bureaucracy necessary to fulfill our original demand. We don't like the results of what we asked for.
Let the government ensure a minimum wage; save our environment; protect us from prejudice; lead us not into temptation; employ our unemployed; protect the criminal; protect the victim; loan or give us money; guarantee us water, food, shelter and fuel; protect us from products of more industrious and clever foreigners; insure our bank accounts; maintain the sovereignty of our ownership of property and things; give everything back to the "original owners" who were here before us; etc., etc., etc. — and above all: cut taxes!
Somehow in all this we forget that we are the government! Try substituting "I" for "government" sometime and see if you really want to do all those things. If you do, why demand that the government do it? We think of the government as some entity apart, some overwhelming godlike power that should do this and should do that — and that is exactly what it has become!
Why don't we just give up entirely and let the government think for us? To a surprising extent that is already happening!
God's form of government is quite different. He puts the onus on the individual. He tells us the rules for successful living and leaves it up to us to apply them, forcing no one — except perhaps in circumstances brought about by ignorance or rebellion against the rules. He demands self-government of each individual and rewards the believing doer. He allows absolute freedom of choice and lets each individual build his own tomorrow. Think about it.
Why not let the government do it? Because each time you do, you erode another piece of your dwindling individual freedom!