The Purpose of Government

So many arguments have ensued over a very basic question. What is the purpose of government?

Some of us feel that government should be used to promote the common good; that together, we can accomplish more than we can as individuals. We believe that it’s a good thing to take care of each other, and provide education, health care, and other social services. Government oversight of business is encouraged to make sure our food and medicine is safe and to provide for a living wage and safe working conditions. Let’s call this the “socialist” view of government.

Others feel that government should not infringe upon our freedoms and our liberties in any way, and should not use tax dollars for things like health care or unemployment benefits or other types of welfare. Government should not put so many restrictions on businesses or guns or our own personal lives. We’ll call this the “libertarian” view of government.

Most people fit somewhere between the two, and are completely inconsistent.

Democrats, for instance, believe in government involvement to regulate business and provide social services but are strong supporters of freedom in other areas (gay rights, abortion, etc.)elephant donkey

Republicans hate government involvement in business and social services but love to have the government regulate private behavior (what they consider “moral” behavior, which is primarily religion based).

Both the socialist view and the libertarian view are legitimate views. Both are valid. You can believe in either one of these views and be an absolute patriot who is being true to what America stands for.

And there lies the problem: There are people at either extreme who think that if you hold a view opposite from them, you are not just wrong, you are evil. You are anti-American, a traitor, someone who wants to destroy this country.

And that’s why we can’t get things done.

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