Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Right to Bear Government

It struck me in the middle of the night so maybe it was only a dream. Though it seems odd to me that many people consider guns to be a God-given right as tools for self defense or other problem solving measures. And many of these same people deny that government is a tool for the benefit of people. It's not that people always have to be consistent (I'm certainly not). It's just that it seems to fly in the face of the Lincoln philosophy of government of, by, and for the people.

It also seems to run counter to the old Mormon principle that:
We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. D&C 134:1.
The other day after work, I went to the airport to pick up a friend and another work associate I hadn't met before. They were coming into town to attend a training session with us. As a good host, I was driving them around downtown Salt Lake City to orient them to where things were so they could find things from their hotel particularly our office, City Creek (both the shopping and the trail up the canyon), and of course, Temple Square for my little missionary moment. (The other work associate is an Asian woman and when I gave them the discrete warning that they would meet missionaries there, she said she could always pretend she didn't speak English. I explained that wouldn't work with the sister missionaries from all over the world covering most major languages.) As we drove past the Grand America, I explained about the hotels and infrastructure that were built to host the 2002 Olympics. While stopped at a light for the TRAX light-rail train to pass, I pointed it out too and knowing the political persuasion of my friend (he texted me from the mall at the President's inauguration in 2009), and it was after work hours, I just popped out with, "And Romney didn't build that by himself."

Setting aside the possible inconsistency of government help (subsidies) for corporate America, tax shelters, laws and civil society creating infrastructure and an educated work force, we can take the conservative political movement at its face and deal with their Reaganite philosophy that "government is the problem." This is the main philosophical difference I have with the Paul Ryans of the world. Romney, I think, maybe didn't completely share that view earlier as Governor of Massachusetts, but we'll assume he at least shares it now.

We have a lot of things we need to work on- our political dysfunction being maybe number one. Certainly we have to address the deficit which doesn't necessarily mean we just slash government services to people and necessary infrastructure when there are the alternatives of boosting the economy and increasing revenues (yes, the dirty little word of taxes - but even that is just a part). In that regard, Paul Ryan is good if only to flesh out the "kill [starve] the beast" philosophy of the right hopefully to be countered by reason on the left of center to work out the best or at least most viable way forward.

I think we also ought to figure a way to decrease corporate money and lobbying influence when our government is supposed to be of, by, and for We the People. Unlike people, corporations are actually a creation of government. Just go to any Secretary of State of the 50 States in the Union where you find the corporate charters registered (created without any spark of Divinity) under the laws of the land. There are even federal corporations established by Congress.

The problem with "government is the problem" philosophy is that We the People are supposed to be the government in this attempt to create a more perfect Union. We don't have a pure democracy which is just fine. They can be a little dangerous and easily manipulated by demagogues. But we have a democratic republic with a broad electorate that is supposed to be in charge of our elected representatives - not money or corporate lobbying. The problem is that we are the government we have been waiting for. And We the People have an awful lot of work to do. Let's not turn it over to those who would increase the power of corporate influence and the mighty dollar.

It is not really the right to bear government, but the right to be government.


  1. This Tea Party thing makes no sense---I don't need government and I hate government so therefore I am going to go into government to destroy it.....well, I guess it does make sense but certainly electing anyone of this ilk is paramount to being part of sedition.


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