Friday, July 18, 2008

Responsibility and Dependency

I've been having snippets of conversations lately with people, and usually don't have the time or spare brain cells available to do the conversation justice. I thought I'd try to be a little more concise from the keyboard.

Some people are surprised to find that the thought of an Obama presidency prompts me to fear. Or that the government running certain banks, industries, or healthcare prompts the same reaction.

I'll try to make this make sense... But don't hold your breath.

Power and responsibility go hand-in-hand. I am responsible for my children, therefore I exercise power over them. I am responsible to keep them from getting run over by cars, so I exert power by teaching them the dangers, training them in safety, and jerking them by the hair* to keep them from such death, if need be.

Dependency and servitude are also close bed-fellows. My children depend on me for sustenance. They cannot provide for their own nutritional needs, and therefore are at the mercy of what I might or might not provide. They don't earn the money, so they don't get to say how it's spent. They don't drive or understand budgeting, so they can't do the shopping. Preparing and cooking food would be dangerous to their wellbeing, so they don't do that either. They don't have the know-how to care for a garden, so they can't depend on a harvest to feed them. Their dependency limits their choices. And because I am the one they are dependent on (the one with the power), I control what is available to them.

When these relationships develop between people and the government, it spells disaster. If the people depend on the government for their food, the government can decide what food is available to the people. If the people depend on the government for their healthcare and medicine, the government decides how to appropriately disburse those things. If the people depend on the government to educate themselves or their children, the government gets to define education.

And this is only right and natural. The responsible party (the government) has the power, in the same way a parent does. The dependent party (the people) are at the mercy of the powerful.

But, unlike most parents, the government can not operate out of love, and will not sacrifice greatly to provide the best choices. Corruption is unavoidable, whether the motive is to kill or control the people, or just make 'necessary' shortcuts to keep the bottom line balanced. What might this look like? Well, in the case of food supply, contamination might be ignored, cheap genetically-modified products pushed, and nutritionally inferior items provided. In the case of education, teachers would be trained to government specs, subjects and information filtered to match the agenda of the powerful, the government would define 'truth' and 'right,' eventually. Opposing viewpoints would have to be deemed 'hateful,' or silenced. And healthcare? Yikes. There are only so many doctors, and only so much money, so the resources will have to be allocated appropriately. Maybe they'll tag each of us with a value, and once our healthcare costs exceed a certain point, it just won't be worth it. Too young? Handicapped? Old? Looks like you get 2 aspirin. Insurance and HMO's (because we depend on them) have been limiting choices and options for a long time.

So far, the people I've talked to (who don't mind the thought of depending on the government), don't seem to have thought through these things. Or maybe they think these scenarios are completely absurd. I don't. I already see some of this in several places the government has 'responsibility.' I don't want to be dependent on the government for my daily existence. I depend on them where necessary, like law enforcement and judiciary, but my life belongs to me, and I am to be dependent on God. He has a better track record anyway.

What do you think? Do I make sense? Am I crazy? (okay, I mean crazy about this subject..)

*Just to clarify; I don't jerk on my kids' hair as a punishment of any sort. I am imagining the scenario where a kidlet is running into traffic and I would do what I must to keep them from it.

1 comment:

MamaJ said...

Hey, not sure if you've done this yet, but I tagged you!! Go check out my post and see what I mean!