I don’t want to be a conservative or a traditionalist. At least not in the sense that I resist change or am even wary of change.
I don’t want to be a liberal, either, though, if that means seeking and embracing change just because it is different. Change should happen for a valid reason.
Change needs to happen whenever the old way of doing things isn’t getting us where we want to go. But we must be careful to select a correct new course, and not just a different course.
The point is to show continual progress towards goals. In that sense, I am a progressive - though not in the sense that word is often used by liberals.
The whole fuss and fight, then, is about defining goals. We can’t seem to agree on our direction. Everyone has a different idea and is convinced his way is “obviously” best.
The two primary political parties in the U.S. have been fighting and obstructing each other for a long time now. It is no longer a case of two differing sets of values struggling to rise to the surface. Instead, the only thing that is important, it seems, is to block the other party from looking good in the eyes of this or that bloc of voters.
Is this really how we want to run our country? Is it not possible to sit down and find common ground on a handful of general goals? Or have we finally become just like the Israelis and Palestinians? Surely, if the goals were general enough, we could find consensus.
The general goals we set for our country should not be different than the general goals of individual citizens, should they? If individual citizens want the same general things - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - then it should be their government’s goal to secure those things for the citizens. That’s simple enough.
It’s not that simple, though, is it? For, whenever you give the government such a broad mandate, you leave it up to the government to come up with its own list of specific things it believes would make your life better, things that would make you happy. Soon, the government is sculpting out a whole life, or way of life, for you - for your own good and your own happiness, of course. Why? Because what you have really done is tell the government, “Take care of me.”
I think I would be telling the truth if I boasted that I think I have cultivated some of the most thoughtful, educated and intelligent readers a blogster has ever attracted. Right about here is where you exceptional people will begin to remind me that I am not an island; I live in a society. Living in a society brings obligations and limits to personal freedom.
I know. I have no desire to live off in the woods by myself like Thoreau. Not even if me mum brought me pies and sweets and clean shirts on the weekends. I freely admit that I like and want things like paved roads and grocery stores and fire departments and schools and good health care. I also admit I want these things for others and not just for myself. I do understand that having these things, and many others, requires that I subordinate a good deal of my free spirit to the common good. “Common Good” in this case being pretty much run by the government.
Where does that leave us? It leaves us exactly where we are today: haggling over what we want the government to provide. Each of us has a list of things we want. Some of your lists are very much longer than my own list. Obama’s list is very much longer than my list.
Okay, here’s the point (you just KNEW there was going to be a point, right?): Government doesn’t provide ANYTHING. Government doesn’t SOLVE problems. Government, in and of itself, is NEVER the answer. Only PEOPLE can build roads and hospitals and schools and take compassionate care of their neighbors. Government is only a VEHICLE for getting things done. A mechanism. A tool. The actual planning is still up to us. The actual DOING is still up to us.
It is a great mistake to assign some sort of actual “life” to the government and expect “it” to get things done for us.
Stop bitching. Get involved.
Canterbury film trailer
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