Google

2.28.2008

Big Government? Really?

"If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have."
-"If Elected, I Promise…": Stories and Gems of Wisdom by and About Politicians (1960) p. 193


I'm not sure who said this- Gerald Ford or Barry Goldwater, but I found it on Wikiquote under both their names (saying that it was often misattributed to Goldwater, so I guess Google was wrong when they put it up as their quote of the day by Goldwater and not Ford). Regardless of who said it, I think it is genius. Socialism is a dangerous philosophy for this country. I don't care how happy Denmark is, thinking that their Socialist government must be great and we should follow suit is comparing apples to oranges.

On the surface (i.e. In the 60-minutes piece), it is easy to look at the way they run their country and ask ourselves, "Now what is so bad about that? They're not doing any harm to anyone else." This is true- they are not doing any harm to anyone else. But what are they contributing?

Denmark is not known for contributing much to the global economy. They give nothing to the military needs of fighting terrorism or providing aid for anyone besides its own. I'd be curious to know how often charities are supported by the Danes. They are a homogenous society. They are taxed at 50%- HALF!- of their income. There is equal distribution of wealth, mandated by the government. The church is not supported by the people, but by the state. They get paid to go to school, and they also get paid not to go to school. They work less hard than we do, because their work ethic is in direct conflict with the rest of their values- thanks to the government. They have no national conflict. They get free healthcare and education. They scoff at the "American Dream."

This form of government works for them (as it also does in Iceland, no. 4 on the list of happiest countries, and the country of origin of my mom and her entire family), and it is detrimental in some ways that they could never know because they know nothing of living the alternative (democracy); but for them, it is also beneficial in many ways. Because of this socialist form of government, they have not only a homogenous population, but across-the-board values, and do not object to the choices that the government makes for them regarding their education, health care, and international policies. I do not disagree with the importance they place on time spent with family as a top priority in their lives- I believe most Americans would agree. I don't think they are bad people. I think that they live in a little bubble... and that works for them.

In the U.S., we do not live in a little bubble of idealism. Converting to this type of government will have disastrous consequences because we are a diverse population, given freedom of religion, freedom of speech and of the press, and by essence of these constitutional rights, we are a melting pot of value systems required to live in harmony with one another. Even if it is a gradual change, the choice to live our lives according to our own values will be robbed of us by a government deciding what is right and wrong, and whose lives are valuable or invaluable.

For example, yesterday I received an e-mail from my husband sent to him by a woman he leads worship with at a Worldwide Perspectives class. Her daughter and son-in-law had just found out that their unborn daughter, Hope, has no amniotic fluid supporting her in the womb, and she has no kidneys, a condition known as "Potter's Syndrome." This little girl will not survive outside the womb, in spite of the fact that the rest of her organs, including her brain and heart, are well-developed. The doctors offered this couple the option to terminate the pregnancy, but they refused, saying that they will let the Lord take Hope home in His timing. This is the second time that this couple has had this happen to them, and the third unsuccessful pregnancy overall. I don't even want to think about the pain they must be experiencing.

As our health care system stands today (as imperfect as it is), this couple had the right to say no when the doctor recommended abortion. Under a socialist health care system, that right would be robbed from them. Because the funding for such a system is limited to what they tax the population- not to mention the taxes we would pay to support the plethora of other government-run programs promised to us to support our 300,000,000+ population, along with the additional debt necessary to uphold the system (P.S. Denmark's population is 5,364,000. Iceland stands at about 301,000.)- the government will not pay for any expenses as this couple waits for the baby to be born, such as further testing, any future complications arising from the pregnancy, the birth itself. The government will see this precious life as "not worth" following its natural progression because it will die anyway, in spite of the fact that as long as it remains in the safety of the womb, it will remain alive. In spite of the horror of abortion and the parents' conviction that it is, in fact, murder (thank you ruling judges of Roe v. Wade for defining for the rest of us misguided souls the definition of murder. I thought that you commit murder when you stop a life from continuing? No?), they will be left with two choices: terminate the pregnancy and go against everything they believe in (as a fundamental constitutional right), or pay the exorbitant health care costs out-of-pocket, and find some way to go through a still-born birth in a system that refuses to respect their choices (notice I did not say "support them").

United States citizens do not live in a bubble. We live in a blessed, privileged society unfit for even the most subtle Socialism- the forcing of one group's beliefs and values on the entire population- in ANY way, shape or form. Those who live in America who believe that socialism works, that it's the way to go, that it's the ONLY way to happiness, need to simply up and move to a country that already functions that way. The rest of us who believe in the soveriegnty of this country will have no objection to that- I guess we will all be happy and get what we think is best, right? But trying to alter the very foundation of this country to fit some idealistic utopia where we are all happy and taken care of by our all-powerful, superhero government is among the most foolish and destructive things a leader of this country can do.

This sense of entitlement that seems to have overtaken our society makes no sense to me. I believe in working hard, I believe in charity, and I believe in choice. I believe that we are all created equal and I believe that some people make better decisions than others, and that whatever those choices look like, the good and the bad consequences have the potential to be carried through generations. Those in power in the public and the private spheres who made choices based on greed have caused destruction that reaches far beyond their pocketbooks and robbed many of the resources to get ahead in life. I also believe that no one can choose where and into what circumstances they are born, nor can they do anything about choices made by others that affect them; but they have the power to choose how to overcome those circumstances instead of extending out their palms saying, "You owe me a good life, America." People have the power to extend their hands to those in need. I believe that the "American Dream" looks different to each and every one of our citizens- be it reaching the million- (or billion-) dollar goal or merely putting food on the table for our families or living a simple life with little possessions and lots of charity or going into our voluntary armed forces to protect and preserve this great nation- and we are all entitled to pursuing those goals within the bounds of our society's law system. Whatever your "American Dream" looks like, be thankful that you have the freedom to pursue it.

I believe that taking steps in the direction of big government, in the name of "giving the people what they want," will destroy this country. Those of you who think otherwise can go ahead and take the infuriatingly-stupid-on-so-many-levels advice of this expert from Denmark (as quoted in the CBS News article):

"Asked what he would advise Americans to do, the man said, 'Well, okay. I have an advice. Don't depend too much on the American dream. Yeah. I think you might get disappointed.'"

2 comments:

Emerson said...

Andrea, I am amazed at how you’ve really “gotten it” so to speak, and I remain hopeful that many other people of your generation will also “get it”. Too many people of all ages fall for the typical government “hand out” promises of most liberal/socialistic politicians on the left of the political spectrum and are ignorant of our country’s founder’s intentions when they authored the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In my opinion, this is the result of schools having been permeated by a cadre of liberal/socialistic teachers/professors who have no clue, and who themselves, were a product of the old “hippie” generation that were typified by laziness and generally incoherent thought (in those few instances they tried). I suppose it is quite enticing to some to visualize a world in which everything is handed to them without commensurate effort on their part. This attitude is akin to childishness but closely resembles the cornerstone of the Marksist doctrine “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

We hear a lot of talk these days from certain people who profess to champion something called “change” but who cannot define what it is they are trying to change. Unfortunately, there are a seemingly large number of people within the population who seem willing to fall for anything that resembles a reality show.

This country is great and has remained so for many generations, and it did not become great via liberalism or socialism. It became the most successful country the world has ever seen by successfully following the representative democracy principles as outlined by our founders. So far, and to the best of my knowledge, there has not been a rush of immigrants into those many liberal/socialistic countries in much of the rest of the world except for those who may be fleeing persecution of one form or another.

Fortunately, we continue to have many young people who are willing to sacrifice of themselves for the good of our country so that the rest of us can live in peace and prosperity. As a result of other such people in the past, we can continue to enjoy the most successful country on earth.

Love,

Dad

Emerson said...

Sorry Andrea,
I didn’t notice the misspelling in my comment; clearly the word was intended to be “Marxist”.