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It's A Gray Area: We should be skeptical of our government

March 15, 2013|By James P. Gray

People in our country mostly seem to possess an innate faith in government. Probably that has evolved because, while our governments generally are unnecessarily expensive, wasteful and intrusive, they have not been overtly corrupt like so many others around the world. And most people feel that at least government means well.

But this growth of government is harmful for at least two reasons. First, government's power almost always comes at the expense of a loss of our individual freedoms and liberties, and second, the government is almost never as effective and efficient as the private sector.

Thus, people who have come here from other countries often join Libertarians and look with alarm as our government continues to increase its power. We literally are experiencing the "frog in the boiling pot" phenomenon in this process as the temperature of the water slowly continues to get hotter.

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The not-so-hidden reality is that big government is really good at one thing: increasing the size, power and expense of big government. But that should not be a surprise because all entities tend to look out for their own special interests and to increase their size and power.

So, just like it is natural to be skeptical about all entities in the private sector, we should logically be equally skeptical about government as well. Actually, we should be more so because only government has the inherent ability to take money, property and liberty involuntarily from those under its jurisdiction.

Milton Friedman underscored this by asking why anyone should believe in the "guardian angels of government" more than the people in any other institutions. Government workers have their own selfish interests, just like everyone else.

For example, and according to one of his own books, when he was a community organizer in Chicago, Barack Obama acknowledged using marijuana on a regular basis, and even having used cocaine. But while in government as president, Mr. Obama has allowed a multitude of people to be arrested and convicted for doing exactly what he himself had done. This is a large example of government hypocrisy, and a good foundation for our skepticism.

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