Note: this editorial is "fringe". The politically sensitive should look away.
At this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting Sheriff John Evans stood up and said something that had shocked me when I heard it a month before from FEMA engineer Kathleen Schaefer at a BOS meeting in that same place. Sheriff Evans said, "the purpose of government is to protect people."
No, it isn’t! Where have you people gotten this idea, and why have you sold it to the public?
The idea certainly didn’t come from the framers of the Constitution, for whom the primary purpose of government, believe it or not, was to stay the hell out of our lives. The founding fathers never intended to have government meddle in our affairs, remember the words "unalienable rights?" That means a person has rights which can not be separated from them by government. The notion that the government could make you wear a seatbelt for your own good flies in the face of the entire idea of personal liberty and self determination. A seat belt is a good idea: wear one if you want to. If you choose not to, you’re more likely to die in a crash, but that’s your right.
No, the idea of the Nanny Government didn't come from patriots, it came from bureaucrats. That is where the FEME engineer got it, that is where the Sheriff heard it, from bureaucrats who not only make a very nice living deciding who needs their help, they also get a great deal of moral satisifaction. With both a monetary and evangelistic motivation, those who want to "protect" us are just about unstoppable.
It is under the guise of "protecting" us that the government does its nastiest work. No matter how meddling and intrusive a government do-gooder is, they can maintain they are doing their work for your good.
The County has decided to join other counties to sue the state for social services money. A County Supervisor from another county has declared that preventing the counties from providing social services is a "recipe for anarchy." This is how badly infected those who govern us are, they believe that only their "help" keeps the rest of us from descending into chaos.
If the counties don’t get the money, it might mean a whole lot of people won’t be under the "wing" of social services. It’s a strange and frightening idea to some that foster kids and drug addicts might like to make their own decisions and master their own lives instead of letting the county do it.
It would be one thing if government actually could protect us from things, it’s pretty obvious they can’t. It isn’t to say that cops and social workers and FEMA engineers don’t do some good; clearly they do, just not as much good as they like to claim. It is the arrogance of the assumption that they can fathom the complicated course of our lives and, through the magic of their "education and training" change our fate, and the presumption that we have to allow them to curtail our liberty "for our own good" that is most offensive to me.
Finally, to correct our sincere but over-trained Sheriff, the courts have already decided that cops have no duty to protect you personally (let alone "serve" you.) Their responsibility is to the general peace. The sheriff should have been straight up and said "the purpose of government is to keep people quiet."
I leave with two quotes from C. S. Lewis:
"Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?"
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.