Friday Firesmith – Why Does Government Exist?

Why does government exist? Could we live without it? As seen in the recent shutdown, when Park Services are abandoned people loot and destroy the parks. If the military were to be treated in this manner, imagine what would happen. If we depended on the goodwill of very large companies to support our interests, we wouldn’t need government at all. We would all bask in the warm glow of our corporate masters and they would share with us the bounty of our labor. Look at how businesses did business a century ago and tell me you wish to return to that.

We know from past experiences that greed isn’t good. Before government regulation, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire. Polluted air and water were common, DDT nearly wiped out the Bald Eagle, and without government regulation, banks could loan or borrow at will, with no recourse if they repaid loans. Oops, that was in 2008. The regulations that went into effect to prevent another such incident have been removed.

So, if we can agree that the government needs to protect us from companies more than willing to sacrifice the greater good for the profit of a few, why is it that when people speak of controlling these entities, which have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, there are those who rush to defend these companies?

Drug companies control the prices of life-saving drugs, and they raise these prices to the point where people are dying. Is this right? Is this just? Is this America?

Once upon a time, the people who created cars for a living produced machines that killed people even in minor crashes. The government regulations put into place made for safer cars and fewer injuries, and cars are still sold by the thousands each day. Is this wrong? Is this unjust? Is this un-American?

If a foreign government decides to invade American soil, should we call some big company for help? Should we hire mercenaries to prevent our destruction?

When Pearl Harbor was attacked Americans rushed to defend this nation. The draft was enacted. Men from all walks of life put on the uniform and did their duty to preserve our way of life. Now, it’s no longer required. There isn’t a need, some say, or a compulsion, for those who can afford some other life, to serve.
Is this right? Should service to this country be mandatory?
If we cannot or will not, expect the individual, whose freedom is preserved by the nation, to feel honored to serve this country, can we with any credibility of intellect, expect a CEO of a large corporation to act in the best interest of a country whose regulations will cost him millions?

We’ve been sold the idea that this nation must be defended by tanks, jets, ships, and men-at-arms, but increasingly, the threat from other powers is that of an electronic kind. Yet the defense industry uses the tax money it gets from selling these obsolete, and sometimes useless, weapons to lobby Congress to buy more and to further the myth that more hardware means more safety.  Did Eisenhower not warn us of this very thing?

At the end of the day, we must examine the needs of the nation before the needs of one person, or the needs of one class of people, or the needs of business. The citizens must come before profit. The environment must be given thought before shareholders. And the strong and sturdy education of each child must be a priority over making the rich even richer.
If you cannot agree that the government must serve the interest of the people over people in power, we are lost, and this country is done for.

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
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41 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Why Does Government Exist?”

  1. We absolutely DO need government, but only a government OF, FOR, and
    BY the people. Our present representatives are focused only on what they or their party wants with very little thought for the good of the population.

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  2. Of course, even when the government is involved, they can still screw it up (see Flint Michigan water, etc.). But I agree with your article. The government needs to protect the people from catastrophes, especially man- or company-made ones. Recently though, politicians have been repealing or changing the laws to reduce that protection. We’re going to hell in a handbasket!

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  3. The semantic distinction no longer exists. The US federal gov’t is the largest corporation in the history of planet Earth. Our corporate masters ultimately get want they want, big guv or little guv or no guv; doesn’t matter. Capitalist, socialist, communist, monarchist, theocratic, etc. — not much difference in the end. Now the watchword is globalism, and the 1% are jockeying for position to keep and consolidate their influence and power.

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  4. I agree that young people should serve our country in some capacity, I think at least two years. Not just the men either. I doesn’t have to be the military. Put them to work in a homeless shelter or an animal shelter. Teach these young people kindness and compassion and how to give of themselves before you send them into the world.
    Or maybe they should do a stint in the military, and then do the giving back thing, that way they learn to be disciplined as well.

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  5. George Washington warned that political parties could become “potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.” The appeal of parties was “a fire not to be quenched…lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

    Daniel Guérin 1936 warned about the fascist government support of heavy industry. It can be defined as, “an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs.

    In 1961 General/President Eisenhower warned we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial-congressional complex. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    If you don’t like it, go buy your own congressman, this one is mine.
    Who’s a good congressman, you are, yes you are, sit, beg.

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  6. I’m remembering a line (don’t know where it’s from) that government exists to do the things that the people can’t, or won’t, do themselves. But its mere existence isn’t enough, it has to be efficient and just. All too often it’s not. “Is this just? Is this America?” Those haven’t been the same thing for a very long time, if ever, and it has no chance of being fixed without some major constitutional changes. That’s not going to happen any time soon.

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  7. It’d be great if B&P could get an opposing conservative view author on a few Fridays. Or better yet, how about eliminating all political diatribes on this site? These views of how bad the USA is, is what got Trump elected. And the more we hear them, the better the chances that Trump will get re-elected.

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    • People voted for Trump for two reasons: people bought into his lies and demagoguery. The ones who were duped, for the most part, regret their vote. The ones who embrace the latter still do because these people need an “other” to blame for their problems and he gives it them.

      Because of so much election fraud being brought on by the Republicans, it is possible for him to get reelected, not to mention there will be many of his supporters threatening voters at the polls–or so I predict. However, liberal minded voters far outnumber conservative leaning voters, and if the former come out en masse, those chances of him winning dwindle.

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    • F, in case you missed it, and I am sure you did, this site is a privately owned entity. I’m an employee. I write and get published all by the good graces of Jonco. When he decides that something I’ve written shouldn’t be posted, it doesn’t get posted. This is a fairly successful site and I like it here, so I pretty much don’t bitch about how Jonco runs the place. After all, it is his site. He’s like the voters and I’m the person who works for the voters. See how great that is?

      Pony up. Grab a keyboard and hammer away. I haven’t missed a deadline in about seven years now, so I’m pretty much convinced that Jon must like what I’m doing. You’re likely got some proving to do.

      All in all, as long as Jon doesn’t pull my leash, I’m going to write about this sort of thing, because right now, the country is in one hell of a mess.

      I love this country a lot more than I like the government and I aim to change something if I can.

      I’ll write about dogs next week. Adopt, don’t shop.

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  8. Mike, you have just stated much of what I have already said on this site. So, needless to say, I agree with what you say.

    Because civics is no longer taught in schools, many people grow up not knowing the history of how our government came to be. And one party in particular uses that ignorance to sell their lies. As we speak, there is a building in DC that is filled with people at their computers altering Wikipedia pages to favor their party, which is why I avoid using that site for facts. And being so many people lack critical thinking skills, they’re inclined to believe the propaganda without any real fact checking.

    Which goes to your question. You ask “why does government exist?” It exists because we the people let it exist, as it is our creation. That question begets follow-up questions, such as “Why do we have the government we have?” and “Who does the government serve?”

    Starting with the first question, it can be said elements of our Constitution were a reaction to what could be considered a backlash against large corporations in bed with the government. This, after all, was what the Boston Tea Party was about. It was a protest against huge corporate tax cuts for the British East India Company. This corporate tax cut threatened to decimate small Colonial businesses and individuals began a revolt that kicked-off a series of events that ended in the creation of The United States of America. (https://archive.org/details/retrospectofbost00hawk/page/n9). I’m sure this incident had Jefferson include a no monopolies clause in his original version of the Bill of Rights. That one, unfortunately, did not make the final list. The other element of our Constitution lies in the fact that they did not want a government that was specifically designed to benefit the leader and who he or she bestows privilege upon.

    That brings us to who our government serves. The answer is we the people. It was always intended by our founders that our government be there for the people. Why? Because the previous government was designed that the people serve the government. In fact, the entire preamble states that our government is there to benefit the people.

    So, to the people who want to reduce the government, they do so because they lack the historical understanding of why our government was created. WE are the government. Too many people lack the fundamental understanding that WE are in this together. That WE are all individuals living, working and helping each other as a collective. Because when everyone does better, we all do better. Our founders understood the idea of interconnectivity. If we deprive a sector of society money for better schools, that results in a negative for all others, hence the idea of equality in our wealth and it’s the government’s job (us) to make sure that everyone benefits from being a individual of this country.

    We all have our individual rights and we contribute collectively because e plurbis unum.

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  9. CAI, you and I seem to be a part of a minority that has a historical sense of perspective when it comes to politics. Bruce does very well in this area, mainly because he was a kid when the Constitution was written, and Paul does very well with historical facts, too.

    By and large, we are dealing with a failed public education system and people do not self educate on how, in the long run, government is supposed to work for us.

    I foresee terrible trouble.

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    • Let me address your failed public education system.

      First, let’s approach it historically. The Founding Fathers knew it was important for the people to be educated in order for their new country to succeed. That’s why Jefferson created the first free college and Lincoln created land grant colleges. These were steps meant to provide a public education system that was to prepare youth to be active participants in our system of self-government.

      What happened is that rich people know it’s easier to control idiots. So they went out and bought politicians to make sure people stay stupid. They had these politicians make laws like have property taxes to pay for local schools. In doing so, poor communities, who pay less in property taxes will always have poorer schools. Then Reagan started to take away federal funds from colleges forcing them to raise tuition. It used to be, one could work at a neighborhood burger stand and be able to pay for school. Not now. If you go, you end up in so much debt you are unable or find it very difficult to be entrepreneurial, which big monopolies love. It also makes the new graduates more beholden to the employer.

      So on one hand, we have a bunch of stupid people who are not happy with their situation in life. So in come the rich people again. They buy up media stations and tell these stupid people their lives suck because of “those” people. Well, the stupid people don’t realize they’re being played to the benefit of the rich people. Not to mention that the rich people are providing a distraction for the idiots so the idiots never come to realize it’s actually the rich people who are the source of their problems.

      Then on the other hand we have debt laden educated kids who recognize the ruse and see how things could be better for this country if the government worked for the people–like pay for education and healthcare. But the rich people tell their people in the media and their paid politicians to scream “Socialism!” in hopes that there are enough idiot voters who don’t understand the concept and how nearly every country who employs these ideas are doing better than us in so many categories. And of course the idiots never bother to research the facts, choosing to believe the propaganda spoon fed to them.

      The root of our failed systems, be it education or government in general, is rich people who just want to get richer off of poor idiots. Many of our Founding Fathers were rich landowners at one time, but many of them died poor. They didn’t believe in handing down their wealth, but rather believed in a land where everyone prospered because everyone contributed to the collective idea of what we are as a country. The irony is is that many countries followed or copied our original principles and are doing so much better than us because they understand what the intent was when our government was created but they didn’t let one sector of society dictate the rules.

      You say you foresee trouble. You may be right because a lot of these idiots own machine gun-like weapons. And if you’ve ever seen a monkey with a machine gun, you know things can get pretty messy.

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  10. There were people out cleaning up the parks when the government was shut down, cleaning up the garbage and even the feces left behind by the inconsiderate humans who weren’t smart enough to pack their trash out with them when they were finished camping. All on a volunteer basis, they were however, informed, that they were not allowed to volunteer their own time and energy to go to the national parks, owned by all of us, and clean them up for free. They were literally threatened with arrest. Yup, a goon squad came in and chased the good-hearted people out. That’s what we’ve become.

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    • We are our government. Our government IS America. Wanting less of our government is un-American.

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        • So to clarify, you are content at being un-American and also must think the founding fathers were idiots for what they wanted to achieve because the government of this topic is the federal government.

          And using the 10th Amendment is not an appropriate argument, because, assuming you are referring to regulations and bills created for the health, safety and well-being of the people who reside in our country, it is the basis of what the Constitution is all about.

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          • Yikes, that’s a pretty bold leap of faith. Are you sure you are talking about me?

            You seem angry that I prefer local matters handled locally, and only the largest matters handled at the federal level.

            The problem is scope: most ‘people problems’ are too large to handle 300+ million people at a time. Things like national currency or national defense, however, are best left to the federal government.

            Sorry if that upsets anyone.

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            • It’s not a bold leap of faith. It’s a statement that fits well to those who believe in a smaller federal government in the context of the government doing what’s best for the lives of its people.

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  11. Does anyone know of a recent politician in Congress who has not become a millionaire while in office? Even Bernie, that darling of the socialists has a bag of money and three homes.

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    • You’re missing the point. Having money is not the problem. There’s having money and willing to pay one’s fair share to benefit all others and there’s having money and wanting to take more from all others.

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      • There’s giving back, look at Jimmy Carter. Building homes for the less fortunate. I know people hated him for his politics, and for giving the draft dodgers a full pardon. He did divest himself of his other financial interests while in office. And at his advanced age, he’s still serving the people of this country-politics aside.

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        • Unlike Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. who were content to go to their graves after avoiding indictments of treason.

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  12. I love you, Mike Firesmith, and was upset when you stopped writing about politics or other tough subjects because a few didn’t like your perspective. Keep doing your thing Mike and don’t let the bullies scare you away from writing what you think and feel. “They” don’t have to read it. You are not a gas-lighting, narcissist, charlatan bully that only cares about himself and has no class. So, please continue the conversations regardless of the topic. Thanks for all you do and your contributions to Bits & Pieces. You are much appreciated. (from another Mike)

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