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Letters to the Editor

March 15, 2014

In Your Opinion: Nanny state has undesired impact

In thinking of what our citizen/government relationship has seemingly changed into over the last 80 years, I’d like to ask some questions.

Is Washington supposed to be our benefactor in all aspects of life, and make sure everybody does the right thing in every consideration of daily living? Did the Constitution’s writers envision citizen to essentially be the federal government’s children, with it needing to provide for all our material and emotional needs? And if it doesn’t, then it’s dysfunctional and broken? 

Is this the kind of government/citizen relationship the founding generation sacrificed for? Is the what freedom and self-governance are, and always have been? Then I think we need to seriously re-examine those concepts. 

The essential question is, in a republic form of government, where self-governance is perhaps its defining characteristic, just how much should the state actually be involved in its citizens daily lives? What boundary of both its domestic and foreign activity should characterize the limited government republic our constitution makes us? 

But if we want, and expect, Washington to act as a lifelong guardian, we should understand something. When we have it interpose itself in our lives in ways we think it should, via Social Security, Medicare, etc, it’s going to do so in ways we don’t want — such as the data mining, drone assassinations, and other undesirable behavior I’ve heard people indignant about. What most don’t realize is this is a package deal. You simply can’t have the cake without the calories. But this dual character really shouldn’t surprise us, because it’s the nature of government. Which in turn is the nature of humankind when in positions of power.

In this context especially, there’s no free lunch.

Robert Olejarz


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