February 1st, 2008

Do You Trust Your Government?

photo credit: Eliza Beth

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. (James Madison, via Quoty)

Proper government, being subservient to the will of its master, the people, has a limited and defined role to play in the lives of its citizens. Operating within its narrowly defined boundaries, government is seen as the mechanism through which individual liberty is protected and sustained.

Any deviation from this standard leads to resentment, mistrust, and frustration among those who are forced to comply with the government’s mandates. This has proven to be the case throughout the history of the world, with despots, dictators, and demagogues assuming control of government and using its power to realize an objective that would otherwise not be permitted under the confines of proper governmental authority.

Our grand experiment in liberty, resulting in a Declaration of Independence and Constitution, secured the blessings of liberty for all who chose to live under its banner. But entropy ensued, with self-serving politicians and special interest lobbyists gaining control throughout the years to change public perception of proper law, encourage welfare, socialism, and other programs destructive to liberty, and push legislation wholly contradictory to the precepts and principles enshrined in the documents which founded this nation.

Compounding over the years, these trends have led to a strong distrust of government. Citizens feel helpless before the throne of big government, and see no other choice than to comply with whatever the administration commands. Few patriots actively take up the banner of liberty and champion the cause of the Constitution, ever eager to awaken their comrades to the perils that surround them.

As world events cascade and the lines of communication shorten, the news of yesterday becomes long forgotten. The tired citizen chooses instead to worry on his own problems, effecting change where he’s most able, and largely ignores the many ills of government he has long since grown used to.

Such a state of affairs, while common in our day, is nevertheless disheartening. Having deviated from our founding documents to a degree the Founders would find appalling, our generation is in sore need of new Patrick Henrys, James Madisons, and Thomas Jeffersons. Who among us will channel this widespread distrust of government and produce a solution that will cure the corruption and diffuse the passion of liberty? Who will stand up to the Leviathan and draw a line in the sand?

It was a strong distrust in government that sparked the American revolution, fanning the flames of liberty among the citizenry and awakening the populace to the abuses of power around them. It is increasingly apparent that a revolution—ideally, a peaceful one—is needed more in our day than ever before.

Do you trust your government? Such an introspective question might, if pondered upon long enough with a sincere heart, lead the otherwise indolent citizen to observe the events of our day and note the myriad ways in which our founding documents have been ignored, abused, and written off as anachronistic. Only then will distrust be catalyzed into action, the collective result surely yielding increasing governmental restraint and more vocal demands for the liberty that is rightfully ours.

3 Responses to “Do You Trust Your Government?”

  1. Scott
    February 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    The Founders intended for citizens to have a healthy level of distrust of government. This feature is necessary to good government.

    I once heard a pundit ask why it is that, although we may know, campaign for, and vote for a candidate, why is it that we suddenly treat him/her as the enemy as soon as they’re elected? It is because that person has changed identity. He/she has become one of “them.” It requires an extremely exceptional elected official not to be assimilated.

    I’m not talking about the paranoid conspiracy theorist kind of hatred of government. I’m talking about a healthy comprehension of what government actually is and does.

  2. Mark N.
    February 1, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    As Joseph Smith said, you give someone a little authority, and the temptation to abuse it becomes intense, such that few can resist it. All the baser instincts kick in, and before you know it, you’ve got a government that is willing to excuse and condone torture.

    I’m seeing lots of action-hero movies through different eyes these days: I’m finding it harder to root for the hero when they start to do things to the “bad guys” that I hope my real government isn’t doing to people in real life.

  3. James Smith
    February 8, 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    Now that Romney is out, see what other mormons are saying about the 2008 presidential race. Especially if you dont trust a huge .gov


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