Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Symptoms of the Times

As the American republic was taking shape, the Founders conceived of the primary purpose of Government to be the protection of Liberty. This is why they placed strict limits on the central government, and were highly suspicions of centralized power. They wanted power close to the people, figuring that it would be easier to keep the government within its proper constraints. They also deemed "power" to be the enemy of liberty, and warned that people had to be constantly vigilant to ensure that "tyranny" never took root on American soil. For this reason, the federal government was consigned to duties that were "national" in scope---mostly defense and interstate commerce. Most important issues of public concern---including questions of public safety, welfare, and morality---were deemed the province of state or local government. And it was assumed that the fruits of one's labor belonged to the one who earned it.

Today, many of us seem to view the primary purpose of Government to be providing services to its citizens. The centralized Federal Government has largely taken over most issues of public importance, with the non-elected judiciary assuming an ever-greater voice in settling questions of public policy. And we are standing on the verge of a massive expansion of the Federal Government: having now largely taken over the auto and financial services industries, it is asserting a claim to take over and centralize the health care industry as well. Rather than looking to themselves to solve their problems, raise their families, and set their destiny, more and more people are looking to the Government to provide answers and solutions to whatever seems to be going wrong in society.

This trajectory of events bodes ill for the entire country. It tends to foster ever-greater dependence on the Government. And once the majority comes to view the power to tax as the power and means to redistribute wealth, it's a small step to Big Brother...where the Government controls every aspect of our lives.

Today, the current Health Care proposals seem to be shaping up as critical indicators: if our reforms move us more toward reestablishing the connection between the consumer (ie, the patient) and the provider (ie, the doctor)—moving to restore some semblance of a market, where decisions are made based on individual need and professional judgment—then we may be able to stave off disaster for another few generations...and let them carry the ball when they come of age. If, on the other hand, we move in the direction of centralized control, bureaucratic decision-making, and bean-counters in charge of medical decisions, then we may be seeing the beginning of the end for the American experiment in democracy.

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

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