Thursday, May 23, 2013

Government is NOT the problem - do not mistake the effect for the cause

There is a problem, but the problem is not the government. 

Let us not mistake the effect for the cause.

The oft repeated quote of Ronald Reagan "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem" is currently contrasted to Barak Obama's various goals, regulations, laws and the rest whereby income distribution, healthcare, green energy among other things are to be modified by government to ensure 'fairness' and that people are provided for (How well Reagan followed his own words and that Obama and his administration is not the only administration to push government as the answer will not the focus in this article.)

If we combine the two points of view, we will come to the real issue that needs to be addressed: Reagan's admonition was the criticism of the sign of the sickness that gives rise to Obama's virulent programs.  Government is not the problem; it is the result of the problem. 

The problem is multilayered: the belief that in some legal form we are 'our brother's keeper' and equally, they are our keeper; that democracy, majority rule, can override moral and economic principles; that there should be a legal base to have categories of people and treat them different legally; that it is proper to use force to make individuals conform to the will/whim of the authorities, whether those authorities are the collective, or the representatives of that collective.

On being our brother's keeper:
The very notion of welfare (corporate and individual) as well as Obamacare and all healthcare permutations (Medicare, Medicaid, et cetera) is that someone is suffering, so the government must step in and help those who need it.

On majority rule overruling principles:
This ranges over the various areas of life whereby it is deemed 'the majority willed it, so all must follow'.  Defenders of such a policy (when their side wins) are quick to decry that in politics 'to the victor go the spoils', though they are quick to contest and protest the results as invalid if their side did not win.  The 'spoils' are not necessarily a specific good, but more importantly the legal use of force to implement a plan, an agenda. 

Two things not answered by majority apologists, since they are quick to defend their vague quantitative measure for 'majority rule'; 1) at what point does the majority overrule individual rights?- 2) how does the majority deciding 2+2=5 make it so?  Examples include: gun control and abortion - at what point is the majority a majority enough to dictate the options to the minority?  More examples include: Obamacare, taxes and subsidies - how much of a majority is needed to overrule the law of supply and demand, ignore the punishing presence of taxes, and the how the otherwise unworthy will flourish when the State/government takes from the sufficient and gives to the insufficient?

On legal classism:
There are only two questions the government should be able to ask for census data: 1) are you alive? - 2) are you legally an adult?  Anything beyond those questions is the beginning on legal classism.  Legal classism is when two groups are categorized, made distinct from one another, in order for one of them to get some form of a legal benefit or punishment; subsidy or tax; permit or license fee. 

Classism is a pragmatic tactic; it is done for an end, whether it is to spur or stifle a given behavior. 

Want to promote 'clean air'?-create 'green' companies and policies that get subsidies, while pushing new taxes and fees to those companies that are not green.  Want to push 'healthy behaviors'?-create 'sin' taxes, and legislate away or limit smoking, sugar, salt, alcohol et al.  Want to get elected?-divide the people along socioeconomic status lines and pit them against each other; there are fewer 'rich' (a relative term for many poor in America would be considered rich elsewhere on Earth), so as a numbers game, it pragmatically pays off. 

However, any form of classism, in embracing a pragmatic end, also embraces a principle: there is to be legal distinction between groups based on a given characteristic.  With one application, the principle has been set and another group wants to emerge and have its boon to be received.  Have a subsidy for corn?-why not wheat, cotton, soybean, rice, et al?  (They each are now subsidized, but there are other crops that are not.)  Does one group have 'too much wealth'?-take some of it away to give to others… who voted for the transfer from the other group to their own.

On legal use of force to make people conform:
The government has the legal use of force initiation, through (only after) due process as in the pursuit and apprehension of a criminal (and properly, should only be after someone's rights were violated - outside of that, what this article addresses).  Everyone has the right to use force in self-defense.  The issue here is in the lack of violating another's rights, the use of force to make people obey the dictates of the law. 

It does not matter the end: whether it is for the forced one's 'own good' or for the forcer's benefit (or the one who hired the forcer - a special interest - under the guise of the 'greater good').  From speed limits, prohibition, caloric restrictions, concealed-carry laws as for our own good, to for the forcer's (or for who the forcer is a proxy of) benefit such as legal requirements of accreditation, licensing fees/permits and union laws.  The goal is to make the chosen ones the only options, keeping others out.

Obama's crown jewel piece of legislation (like the re-ratification of the Patriot Act, passed by both Republicans and Democrats, or similar plans like Romneycare) Obamacare crosses all aspects of the problem: we are each others' keeper, majority opinion overrules principles, legal classism and the use of force to make people obey.  The nature of Obamacare and its creation and implementation has the following: that there are some people suffering; everyone must by the force of law be made to support the suffering group; that can only be done after legal classes have been defined (the haves and have-nots); implemented regardless that adding millions more to the demand, and not increasing supply is supposed to make health care (actually medical care) more available and cheaper, and is placed upon all whether it is wanted or not by each individual.

The problem is the idea itself that government can be turned to in order to resolve individual and social issues.  Life involves constant struggle in small and large forms: food, shelter, healthcare and many other goods each require investment of money, material and labor; there are those who are ignorant, incongruent, or knowingly biased and prejudicial but see it as part of their belief system: the 'other' ethnicity, or women, or homosexuals are inferior.  There is no legislation that can be passed that can override the fact of production of limited goods, using limited resources, just as there is no law that can be voted on that will make people think critically, empathize or feel compassion.  There is no way that any governing body can guarantee bounty, and avoid risk for anyone.  Those who offer such protection and safety only can claim such boons, while what they do is nothing more than 'legally' steal from one to give or pay for another.

None of this takes away from our individual preference to categorize, to classify according to our preferences - weighing, valuing, judging and choosing is a great part of what it is to be human.  Having the government make our choices for us by legal restrictions removes in small or great parts through each law passed, a piece of our ability to act as humans.

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.  Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." - George Washington.

Government is not the problem; it is the sign of the problem.  The problem is the notion that the government should be turned to in order to resolve individual and social issues, forcing all of us to obey.  The answer to the problem is free people interacting freely.  Will the perfect option be chosen every time?-no.  But it will be chosen more often, and adopted to more quickly than the mandated error of slow legislation of government that carries with it the legal force of the State behind it.  That is the pragmatic concern.  Morally, only free choice can lead to moral decisions.