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I spoke to an in-law member on Sunday who was talking about some local police department eliminating a few police jobs because of the Great Recession. Nothing unique about the layoffs, it's happening all across the nation as tax revenues dry up.
It's what my in-law then said that caught my attention.
She said that laying off police was a "good thing". The reason? With fewer police, more citizens would buy and carry guns and protect themselves instead of depending on the police. The implication was that citizens would actually be better off with less protection from police.
Before someone clutches their 2nd amendment......this post does not wish to address the right to bear arms. The Supremes settled that issue.....not to my liking....but that's how it is and I'll live with it.
It's the underlying philosophy of my in-law's comment with which I take issue.
It is the philosophy I've often read and heard from many conservatives and libertarians of late. It is the philosophy of "drowning government in a bathtub" made famous by Grover Norquist.
Allow me to expand upon this thinking.
Would we be a better, stronger society if we laid off more teachers or closed more public schools? Would we be a richer, more educated society if we just handled the education of our children ourselves?
Would we be a better, stronger and more intelligent society if libraries were closed? After all, Americans can just buy their own books if they need to learn stuff, right? Why should the government pay for libraries for all when we can each, individually, be responsible for the material we need to learn about stuff?
Would our "shining city on the hill" shine more brightly if the government didn't sponsor and maintain national parks? State and national parks are costly......and are not absolutely essential.....so, maybe we should save that money and give taxpayers their money back. It's their money, right?
I have the same question about roads and interstate highways. Everyone knows how expensive it is to build and maintain roadways today. Maybe we would be better off as a society if we handled the transportation thing ourselves, you know, individually. Sure, it might be a bit hectic getting to work, or visiting grandma.....but we would be doing it ourselves, not depending on some nanny government to do it for us. Wouldn't we be a more free people if we didn't rely on government to take care of our transportation routes? And just think of the windfall. Nanny government could reimburse us for all those trillions they spend taking care of something that we could take care of ourselves. I mean, isn't that right?
While I'm at it....why would we need some national military? Almost $800 billion per year is spent protecting American citizens from outside enemies. Couldn't the citizenry just protect themselves from any outside threats? I mean....are we truly free, do we have liberty or not? Why let a federal government take over our national self-defense responsibilities when we can surely pull our bootstraps up very tight and protect ourselves? The early settlers did it....why can't we?
Sure....the Constitution allows for the national defense. But the Constitution also instructs our elected officials to look after the "general welfare" of the people.....and as my in-law's philosophical musings demonstrate, we can all take care of our own "welfare."
Why not really "take back our country?" Take it back from the federal government we have democratically elected. Is what Reagan said true or not? Government is the problem and not the solution. So, let's just get rid of the federal government altogether. All the government does is spend our money....and it's our money.....so, why not get all of our money back by eliminating all government. Government, conservatives still insist, is the problem. Wouldn't it be wise, then, to address the underlying "problem"? Wouldn't the right course of action be to work towards the "solution"? And isn't that "solution" the elimination of government and everything it does?
If not, then what is it that I'm not understanding about today's Reaganism-on steroids?