I guess the occasion of casting my absentee election ballot has inspired a political post. I’m not sure when my interest in politics first started, but I was raised in a conservative, evangelical household and suppose I have continued many of these beliefs for myself. I have always held a relatively optimistic view of America and her place in the world. I think the U.S. does have a truly unique history; however, it seems like lately this bright future is growing dimmer.
At one point, I think American ingenuity, grit, independence, and hard work were the character traits held in high esteem, but it seems like these have lately given way to comfort, conformity, and dependence on the government. In the past, I believe farms, factories, small business, and entrepreneurs were the engines driving the American economy. Now, consumer spending, government jobs, and government handouts seem to be the order of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely in favor of helping someone get back on their feet after losing their job, etc…, however, I do not believe long-term dependence on the government is healthy.
I’m not exactly sure what possessed me to pickup my old copy of 1984 recently, but I can’t help but realize some similarities between the book and American society today. The concept of the government being a cradle to grave caretaker is one similarity. Between Medicaid, WIC, welfare, food stamps, Medicare, and Social Security, the government allows an awful lot of assistance throughout one’s lifetime. Also, I think the concept of independence has been minimized as the government steadily creeps into more and more aspects of it’s citizens lives with healthcare, taxes, EPA, TSA, etc… While government is a necessary evil, I think the size and scope of federal government regulation has ballooned significantly.
I’m not sure why I have been recalling my high school reading list books recently, but Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand also appear to be relevant to this topic. I believe she emigrated from the Communist Soviet Union and her writing is a reflection of the Communist system of government she experienced. As I recall, she upholds the values of independence and ingenuity in the face of overwhelming bureaucracy. I vaguely recall reading about her specific philosophy… I think it was objectivism or something similar. Anyway, another example of someone warning others about the dangers of communism and its principles.
For these reasons, I am hesitant to embrace politicians when they promote further government growth. I’m not sure the government should be dictating how businesses pay their employees or that everyone is required to have health insurance for that matter. What’s the old saying, the government should deliver the mail, defend the country from foreign enemies, and that’s about it.