The health care debate has made very clear the differences in point of view between the liberal left and the conservative right. They also reflect two very different and I suspect incorrect views of the American people.
Taken with utmost candor I believe a liberal would say that the average person is incapable of self-sufficiency, decision making or personal responsibility through no fault of her own and that those who know best must, through government, make those decisions collectively for the well-being of all. How else can one explain the concept of more and more government involved in more and more things?
The conservative takes a different view and believes that each person is fully responsible, can make all possible decisions, exercise thought and planning, needs little additional help and thus should suffer the consequences of all his actions. How else can one explain the concept of limited government involved in the minimum possible things?
There is an element of truth in both of these views and given the potential for the extreme, we better aim for the middle and even err on the side of less is more.
The current financial trouble facing the country driven in large part by the actions of millions of Americans in their daily lives, provides evidence that Americans may be overestimating their own abilities as well.
As Thomas Jefferson said, ““Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” –Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:122
At the same time, never forget what Walter Cronkite said, “We are not educated well enough to perform the…act of intelligently selecting our leaders.” Based on what we are seeing from our Congress these days, I would say Walt had a point.
So where does this leave us? I can’t really say but considering the fact that the government bureaucracy is made up of millions of average and not so average Americans and their numbers are growing rapidly, I would simply turn to Ben Franklin, “All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.”
Isn’t it a bit ironic that the Supreme Court upholds the Constitutional right to bare arms when that “right” was provided for because of the great fear of a overly strong central government?
Thomas Jefferson:“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Today we have those arms being delivered in a truck manufactured by a company owned by the government, go figure.