Independence Day, a time to pause and reflect

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.

Independence Day is a fitting time to pause and reflect about the problems and potentials of our American republic, especially the threats to the unique American way.

“Bad” ideas, concepts that repeatedly don’t work as they were intended, almost never die. There is always some group with a vested interest that keeps bad ideas alive because the group’s claims are served.

A prime example of a bad idea that doesn’t usually work in our nation is the “let government do it” notion. Government solutions are almost never as effective as private sector solutions. Government only does a few things well at any level, yet leftists and statists push for governments to stick their power finger into all sorts of “progressive” projects.

The tasks that governments should be responsible for are national defense and national security, local police protection, a court system for adjudicating disputes and violations of law, the means for transportation for its citizens, and border security. Other programs, such as education, prisons and jails for law-breakers, and providing for citizens stricken with true poverty should be addressed by government, but could be administered by either the public or the private sectors.

Governments do a few things relatively well, but bog down into turmoil and failure when they exceed their natural bounds.

The common requirement for any task or service that government should administer and control is whether nearly all citizens will benefit from it. Government gets into trouble and sails treacherous waters when it chooses to get involved in efforts that the private sector could perform more efficiently and at less cost under a system of free enterprise, or to take sides in efforts that benefit one class of citizens over another.

Why? Because governments must then make choices that harm certain groups of citizens, who deserve equal protection under the laws when they are not violating the laws. Human nature being what it is, elected and appointed individuals representing the government too easily succumb to power’s allure; they delight in doling out benefits and dollars to those self-interest groups that can vote to keep the same government officials in power. Does any reader seriously doubt that most government officials reward groups, sectors and even individuals who put them into power or can keep them in power? Aye, but so-called “social justice”–a violation of the traditional understanding of universal  justice–is the great danger of democracy, where the majority is forever tempted to tyrannize minority groups.

Governments that pursue “equality” always do so at the expense of freedom, as their dictates descend into subsidies and coercive mandates to achieve their ends. A government that intrudes where it doesn’t belong, by declaring mandates and picking sides, always knows that somebody is the taker and somebody is the provider. But anything that government gives, it must first take away. And the takers always want more government, because it means more “free” fruit for them. Equality for one means less freedom or forcible loss of property for another, who must make concessions simply because they are one of the “haves”.

The thought for Independence Day is whether governments deserve to govern when they seek to pit society’s groups against each other, as in class warfare and gender warfare. Shouldn’t the rewards of society go to those who are lawfully successful? Why is it a good idea to reward failure to succeed? Where is accountability for poor life choices and dumb decisions?  The losers in life’s races should be respected, but not be given trophies for simply participating.

In today’s permissive climate, we need to be careful that the Independence Day theme does not become debased into Dependence Day.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.
John R. Smith

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