Red, Gray & Blue Blog

Government-a balancing act

On religion and politics, it seems difficult for people to accept that opinions will differ without emotionally classifying these differing opinions as right and wrong, good and bad, noble and evil. Objectivity is scarce.

Our forefathers placed great importance on inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights are not absolute and are restricted by laws enacted with the consent of the governed to give up some freedoms for order and safety.

Daily we engage in debates on where the line should be drawn. How much spying is acceptable? What actions endanger the general or individual welfare? How much regulation is enough? How much is too much?

Our government is a balancing act between liberty and order--but in political discussions there seems no middle ground.

I am mystified by changes in political thinking that have arisen during my lifetime. My education and raising in various Protestant, Catholic and public settings left me with the idea that ours was a secular nation. Not until a decade or so ago did the public dialogue create the meme that "we are a Christian nation." Christian is a predominant religion. We are not a theocracy where laws are based on the Christian religion. Such a turn is a massive threat to liberty akin to imposing Sharia law. But how much religion in the public sphere is too much? One nation under God--most folks accept that. Prayer in school? Perhaps--but preferably nondenominational prayer. Again, the issue is balance.

The other theme changed is the vilification of all things government. According to this meme, everything government does is wrong; the private sector can always do it better, faster, cheaper. First, the idea is absurd because government is a vast array of services, not one thing that you can say is good or bad. Second, any time something is for the public good, turning it into a private sector for profit operation is a bad idea. How about water for example? Shall water availability be based on who is the highest bidder? United States citizens depend on readily available cheap water. Placing control of that commodity in the private sector is a terrible idea. Many other commodities and systems that should never be privatized. The balancing act is deciding what is better done by government or better done by the private sector.


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