We're all in this together. It's for the greater good. It's important that we all pay our fair share. It takes a village. Recognize any of these statements? They are the stock-in-trade of those who feel that collective 'rights' are more important than the rights of the individual. The fact that groups are made up of individuals doesn't seem to matter to these folks, nor does the fact that collectivism demands universal participation in order for the system to work (however inefficiently), even by those who would prefer not to be involved.
I could go on quoting clichés all afternoon. You have heard them all and so have I. You may even believe that there is some merit to some of the expressions I've used. All I see is mumbo-jumbo. I see George Orwell's Newspeak. I see words that purportedly say one thing but in practice say quite the opposite.
Over the past several days, a couple of gentlemen and I have been bantering in the comments sections of several of my recent posts. One position posited is basically that we need government to keep order and to keep us playing nicely and fairly with each other. I might agree if governments were at least somewhat like what was envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Government has never really been like that though, even in the United States. As soon as ambitious politicians and meddling bureaucrats and various other improvers and busybodies got involved, things went downhill. I would rather have no government at all than to be controlled and manipulated and bled, all for the 'greater good.'
Who gets to define the greater good? Want a hint? It's not the honest guys and gals who work hard to support their families and generally go about their lives minding their own business. No, it's the do-gooders, the world-improvers, the ones with 'vision,' the ones who 'care' and who have compassion. I have a vision (unfortunately not a reality) where I go through life not bothering anyone and not having anyone bother me. Their vision, usually highly impractical and often part of a larger agenda, involves bothering me a great deal, by taking my money, for 'the greater good,' and spending it on things of which I do not approve. I am rarely consulted. They, after all know better.
And that's not all. After they take my money, and squander it hither and yon, they create thousands of rules and regulations to govern my behaviour. I have no problem with being told that it is not acceptable to kill someone, or to steal from someone, or to defame someone. After all, these activities are reserved to the use of governments and they don't want any competition. I do, however, have a problem with being told to do or not do things that by no reasonable measure are anyone else's business.
I believe that we are in for tough times ahead, times during which there will be a lot of tension due to economic hardship and worse. Those are times during which it is of paramount importance for people to work together and stop bashing and blaming each other for whatever ills there are in the world. You are who (and what) you are because of choices you have made. So am I. Occasionally things happen to us over which we have no control -- illness, job loss, accident -- and we sometimes need each other's help. So, let's help each other by treating each other with respect and care. Let's just not pretend that we are helping each other by passing off the problem to government, effectively hiring a bunch of goons who, in the guise of providing services to us, squander most of the money they extort from us and in fact provide very little of any real use to us.