Opinion

What if we had no government?

With all the “assistance” we are receiving from government as our elected representatives strive to protect us from ourselves, it might be interesting to consider how we would fare if there were no government. Perhaps it could be our “end of year” assessment.

Would we have health care? Sure. After all, the art of medicine grew from a demand by people to seek cures for sickness and not a government mandate. Most of the medical discoveries and improvements are the result of individual ingenuity and effort. We would probably have health care that equaled our demand and our ability to pay for the service. Government not required.

Would we have food? Farming has also been an entrepreneurial endeavor and has found success because of individual effort. The crop levels and variety of foods we enjoy are the direct result of farmers, family or corporate, working to meet the demands of the market place. Government not required.

Would we have clothing and housing? Once again, the supply of basic needs is the direct result of a demand being met by individual effort, imagination and willingness to take risk. Government has never sewn a single stitch or hammered a single nail. Government housing projects promptly turned into the worst slums in the nation. For clothing and housing, government not required.

Certainly government must be required for education? Not really. Private schools, home schooling, and major private universities clearly demonstrate that the original roots of American education remain strong and produce a well educated graduate. Even though we tout the success of “public education,” would we not have the same or better results if the entire process were left in the hands of local school boards, without the “assistance” of government? For really good education, government is not required.

How about conservation and preservation of natural resources? This one is a bit harder to sort out because, over time, we have come to confuse conservation with the new religion of “environmentalism.”

If the objective is to make efficient and practical use of resources to meet the needs and demands of people, government need not apply.

Government has not been responsible for a single “discovery” of a resource or the invention of a way to use a resource. Those who own resources are generally the best stewards of those resources because to do so is in their best interests. Those who own the resources make the investments, take the risks, and hope for a positive return on their efforts. On the other hand, “environmentalism” usually involves demands by those who have no vested interest in a resource and have taken no risks. Their only objective is to limit or refuse resource use. If the end result of environmentalism is the elimination of resource use, it is not conservation. Environmentalism relies on government.

For conservation, government is not required.

Perhaps public safety requires government? No doubt about this one. Without a common agency or effort to ensure public safety we would be dependent on individual action and chaos would result. For public safety, government is required.

How about roads and streets? Individuals could not effectively construct and maintain the roads and streets necessary to permit movement of people, goods and services. We need government for roads and bridges.

How about transportation in general? We managed to develop a nation and an economy without government controlling the development and growth of the means of transportation. Cars, trucks, planes, trains, ships and barges were all products of individual inventiveness and ability to satisfy a need. These are still the primary elements of transportation today. Private ownership of transportation systems (without excessive government oversight) has worked very well, thank you. For transportation, government not required.

It seems that we manage to do very well when government stays out of areas that it is not designed to work effectively in. With the exception of public safety, roads and a few other areas like national defense, postal service and common currency that exceed individual capabilities, government has a very limited place in our lives. Now how do we get our government to understand that reality? Might it depend on who we elect to represent us and their core values?

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