I was thinking today, as I walked along enjoying God’s wonderful spring pageant, that, as Christians, we should be careful if we are of a conservative bent and join in the call for a smaller and less obtrusive government. Is this bloated and intrusive federal presence in our lives exactly what we have asked for? If the government were to shrink its protective blanket who would take up the slack?
I think that the government is like matter seeking a vacuum. All it takes is a small need that goes un-remedied for the government to seek to fill that need. Unfortunately the people that we elect are generally not versed in a wide variety of technical and practical expertise. Most of us tend to specialize in a particular field and rely upon the rest of society to do their part and fill the other specialties.
The more that you have people overseeing processes that they do not fully understand, the more you leave yourself at the mercy of multiple personal agendas that may or may not reflect the greater public good.
The truth is that we need a certain level of regulation and oversight to maintain a functioning and inclusive society. The innate good in everyone seems to be a lot more evident when they know someone is paying attention.
How much that oversight intrudes into our lives in the form of rule and regulation is directly related to the amount of responsibility each of us is willing to take to ensure that the basic needs of our community are filled. How much we are taxed depend upon how many holes we leave to be filled by others. If we fall short on individual charity then we are compelled to provide cooperative or governmental charity. We are making that choice.
The only real alternative to the “nanny state” would be more responsibility assumed by the general population for the welfare and support of those that cannot help or support themselves. It would also require a greater responsibility for a large segment of society to do more to live within their means and work harder to improve their situation without expecting something to be given to them for merely existing.
None of this can happen overnight. It has to begin somewhere. I think that we Christians, as well as other people of faith regardless of affiliation can make a good start and set the right example by drawing closer to that which drew us to believe and re-learning the true meaning of charity and compassion and the other lessons that have been gleaned from thousands of years of learning and gathering knowledge. We are fools not to profit from the hard lessons handed down by our forefathers.
Both sides have overseen periods of unsustainable growth based on false expectations and artificially inflated markets and the ensuing reality checks when our soaring economy comes crashing down around our necks.
The scary thing is that the big enabler in all of this financial chaos is us. We put the people in place that allow it and then we keep returning them no matter what they do because they tell us that their failures are someone else’s fault. Or that they will do better.