This romanticized vision of the benefits of an ever-expanding government assuming command of everything â€” from disaster relief to managing our waistlines to promoting breastfeeding to mandatory vaccinations and to how we live and die â€” needs to be given serious thought.
What price are we paying to allow the government to extend far beyond its constitutional mandate to â€śprovide for the common defenseâ€ť and â€śpromote the general welfareâ€ť to the degree that America is descending into a nanny state that doesnâ€™t â€śsecure the blessings of libertyâ€ť?
Despite the praise for the governmentâ€™s response to Hurricane Sandy, the sight of people standing in lines for hours for gasoline or huddled in their homes with limited or no supplies of food and water seems to provide an answer to the question.
Dependence on the government has led to potentially tragic vulnerability. As a people, too many of us have voluntarily ceded our individual authority and responsibility to a system designed to treat us as a collective group of children incapable of making decisions for our own good and the security of our families.
Fear is the predominant driving force encouraging so many to remain passive â€” apparently valuing safety above the freedom to speak, think and strive to achieve the full extent of oneâ€™s God-given talent â€” which is systematically stripped away by government intervention.
Does the good of the many really outweigh the needs of the few when we are moving ever more rapidly towards creating a society that is increasingly more petty, selfish and small-minded in the name of fairness and spreading the wealth around?
Some might consider it a fair compromise if the government actually took measures to protect us from harm. But the assumption really doesnâ€™t meet the reality:
Instead of the endless campaigns against obesity that rely on proposed moratoriums on Big Gulps and large servings of movie popcorn, how about scaling back taxpayer subsidies on sugar and corn? Studies suggest that high fructose corn syrup plays a substantial role in rising obesity rates despite the government essentially paying for its production. Yet the government promotes them and props them up with public monies.
Instead of watching the cancer rates rise and simply spending increasing amounts of money on treatment leading to exploding health care costs, there are those who say that the government should look more into at controversial practices such as organic farming and genetically-modified foods.
The government should top promoting policies that lock children in bloated, wasteful and ineffective public schools where teachers and administrators essentially pride themselves for fostering mediocrity â€” especially among the poor and minority children. Instead of acquiescing to recent decisions such as the one in Florida, where the stateâ€™s board of education set academic goals on the basis of race, perhaps it is time to give power back to parents, teachers and the children who are left without a choice and are unable to compete successfully in our society.
Chest-thumping about the wonders of FEMA and the alleged efficiency of the federal government of leaves lingering doubts. Remember the people affected by Hurricane Katrina who were forced into formaldehyde-laced trailers? How about the prolonged fiasco surrounding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
This is the recent past â€” government has not changed. And declining goods and services in the northeast may yet reveal that a big government hasnâ€™t really been the solution to Hurricane Sandyâ€™s victims.
Expanding government can still be controlled. But America is coming to a potential point of no return. Emotions cannot be allowed to dominate the promulgation of policy. An explosion of government interference will not help our nation, and â€” once big enough â€” cannot be stopped.
Dr. Elaina George
Dr. Elaina George, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, is a board-certified otolaryngologist and host of a weekly talk radio show, "Medicine On Call," that explores health issues and the politics of medicine.