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Cynicism and limited government

Posted by Chance on July 30, 2008

I was watching a Simpson’s episode from the Season 2 DVD where Marge successfully bans violence from the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons. Her protests influence others to prevent Michelangelo’s David from visiting Springfield. Marge regrets her actions and concedes “I guess one person can make a difference, but most of the time, they probably shouldn’t.” This statement resonated with me somewhat, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

As someone who generally favors limited government, I actually prefer it when politicians do less. When people talk about how they want to change the world and make the world a better place, part of me cringes, because usually what they mean is that they want to pass more laws, raise taxes, and spend more government money.

When I think about the people I went to college with, I think of those who got involved in a lot of activities such as student council and the like, and those who simply went to class, did their homework, and tried to have a little fun along the way.

I know that it is better to be involved with things and try to impact other people’s lives, as opposed to being more self-absorbed and simply worrying about one’s grades. However, the “involved” people are the ones more likely to get involved in politics and do the aforementioned things. The ones that are less involved are more likely to mind their own business and leave me alone.

I guess it all depends on how someone gets involved. It seems that government is typically the first route people take when trying to change society. But I think if people put the same amount of effort in non-governmental avenues, it could make more of an impact while keeping the average person’s life free of rules and regulations. Also, when people talk about “changing society” and the like, I tend to associate it with liberal politics. And for some people, that’s not a bad thing, but for those on the other side of the political spectrum, it is. I don’t mean to bash Democrats or liberals, I am just saying how I feel. The idea of being compassionate and doing good is becoming less romanticized, as it is commonly associated with huge taxes and inefficient government programs. Doing good is losing its cool. Jesus has been replaced by a faceless bureaucrat. To explain how I feel to more liberal readers, think of how some self-righteous conservatives can turn people off from ideas such as “family values”.

When it comes to changing society, I do believe there are times that government should be involved, but even then it should not be the only focus. Look at racism. Passing laws will not change people’s heart, and it takes institutions such as the church to address the heart issue (unfortunately some of the church held people back). But just because it takes more than government doesn’t mean government shouldn’t be involved at all. People of all races should be treated equally by the government. The same thing with the abortion issue. Christians and others passionate about the issue should get involved in ministries that help out expecting mothers and help them to choose life. At the same time, I believe born and unborn people should be treated equally under the law.

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One Response to “Cynicism and limited government”

  1. John said

    “I guess it all depends on how someone gets involved. It seems that government is typically the first route people take when trying to change society”

    No wonder, it is the easiest route. It is far easier to pass a law and punish those who disagree then to convince people (one person at a time) that your proposal has merit and should be voluntarily adopted.

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