Government Is Not Society
If I was going to sum up my political philosophy as succinctly as possible, I think this is how I’d do it.
Perhaps the difference that most fundamentally separates true liberals and libertarians from others is that, to one degree or another, true liberals and libertarians are, unlike non-liberals and non-libertarians, dutiful sons and daughters of the Scottish Enlightenment. And one of the great lessons of that remarkable intellectual movement is the refinement of the understanding that state and society are not the same thing. Society is not created by the state, and the state’s activities not only do not define those of society but often diminish society’s activities.
Professor Don Boudreaux says this in the course of pointing out that FDR did much to destroy the private market for unemployment insurance. Prior to governments providing “free” unemployment insurance, many religious organizations, charities, businesses, and private societies provided it. People helping each other, reaching out, lending a hand to a neighbor in need. All of that was blown away and destroyed once the federal and state governments started providing unemployment insurance.
I found out today that it is possible to buy supplemental unemployment insurance to augment what the government provides. That’s welcome news but it’s a far cry from the vibrant assistance provided by society prior to the government’s take over.
Government has not brought us closer together by providing services that the private sector used to provide. Instead, it has pushed us further apart and made us less reliant on each other. That’s the exact opposite of the brotherly love and caring that President Obama constantly claims to want.
If you want a close knit society of caring people that look out for each other—slash government spending and get government out of the business of replacing society with bureaucracy.