I’m drawn to memes. I like to look at them, see the perspective the creator intended, and then try to follow that logic as far as I can. That’s what I did with this one:
For a people who rally to the phrase “Land of the free and home of the brave,” we really do seem to have a lot of government regulation in our lives.
How did we get here? How much government regulation is necessary? Is it really all about taxes?
Some laws and regulations are necessary. Without accepted laws, homeownership would be impossible, because anything could be taken from us by force, coercion, etc. Driving would be one of the most deadly things we could do — kind of along the lines of sleeping with rattlesnakes. Of course, we also want some oversight on the items we buy. There are already enough questionable substances in the boxes and cans on the shelves now. Without some government oversight, shopping could literally become a gruesome game of “choose your poison.” Imagine how dangerous buildings could be or how little use we would get out of a riding lawnmower.
However, it seems that we may have gotten a little carried away. Sometimes, it’s like we’re collectively a group of toddlers running to the government every time another kid sticks their tongue out at us!
Someone gives us a bad haircut? Make the regulations for graduating from hair school and getting a beautician’s license harder!
Another country’s kids look like their smarter than the kids are in the U.S.? Make some more laws to regulate the schools!
We don’t like the way our neighbor cuts his lawn? Get the city to enact a new ordinance!
The bottom line is this: if we don’t want to do some of the hard work of thinking for ourselves, working for ourselves, and disciplining ourselves, we’re going to have to have a government that tells us to do it or else.
But is it all about taxes? It’s possible, but I doubt it. The more regulation we have, the more government employees we need to make sure those regulations are followed. This means more government paychecks, which are funded by taxes. Sure, we have greedy, undisciplined people who make it into office and either find ways to steal the money outright or divert it to their friends and comrades, but they may be a symptom of our cultural problems rather than the cause.
What do you think? Are we free-range humans on a tax farm? How much government do we really need?
Next week, I’ll take a look at how I think we got here.