Government involvement not helping

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 11, 2018)

It’s a wonderful thing when someone decides to help the community. I might even join them if their efforts align with my values.

I’m somewhat less thrilled when someone mistakes running for office, getting a government job, or passing a law for helping. A government position or job is nothing to be proud of. It’s not honorable or praiseworthy. Everything is better without the threat of law or punishment, and when funded voluntarily. Worthwhile ideas don’t require arm twisting.

Lampreys aren’t helping the fish they latch on to, nor is government helping the society it feeds on.

At best, government is like the wrapping paper covering a gift. It may be beautiful, flashy, smooth, and neat. Or it may be ugly, greasy, or sloppily applied. In either case, the wrapping shouldn’t be mistaken for the contents. The wrapping paper needs to be ripped off and discarded no matter how it looks. Then you can get to the important matters hidden below.

Often, government is like black mold growing in the heart of the community; bringing corruption and disease to everything it touches. You shouldn’t protect the mold, pretending it is necessary. Nor should you bleach and kill it only to infect the area with new spores, causing the filth to return.

To really help your community, find things others can join voluntarily. Don’t impose your ideas of what would be helpful through laws and taxes.

It’s not charity if you have no choice, or if you are giving away other people’s property. Socialism is the radical idea of sharing, at gunpoint, things which are not yours to share. Calling it democracy doesn’t make it better.

When you violate others, it doesn’t matter how pure your intentions are; you are doing something wrong. This is the fatal flaw behind most laws.

If you notice a problem, think of what you could do to fix it. Think of people who might be able to help, and ask them. You may be surprised at the response. Many people would like to help, but haven’t noticed a need they can take action on. Convince them yours is the one they’ve been waiting for.

If no one will help, do what you can on your own. Or accept that your idea may not be as good as you believed.

As long as you aren’t violating anyone else’s right to life, liberty, or property with your good intentions, give it your best shot. If not you, who?

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