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Thursday, August 26, 2010

One Thing Government Cannot Do!!!

Parade of politico signs
We can expect to see more political ads on TV and signs with politicos’ names spiked in lawns across the country during the next several weeks as we head into a critical mid-term election for the Obama administration.

With the political fervor ramping up, so will the rhetoric and hyped-up promises for “change” at the local and national levels.

It’s what politicians, politics and our government tends to do – over promise and under deliver with a premium price tag attached.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this country and it’s the greatest form of government on the planet. But it has shortcomings.

One such shortcoming is summarized in this quote from philosopher Jurgen Habermas, “Democracy requires of its citizens qualities that it cannot provide.”

While government can fix roads; provide limited healthcare; deliver mail; negotiate treaties; defend our borders; levy taxes; test food and drugs; designate parks and land reserves; establish laws and punish lawbreakers – plus an ever expanding list of other activities – it can’t legislate character.

For our form of government to function properly, we need to first govern ourselves individually. Individual governance develops from the inside of a person and encompasses ethical conduct, compassion, integrity and kindness.

Like it or not, the greatest growth contributors toward that ultimate goal of inner self governance are a caring family, formal or self-directed education and a religious affiliation of some kind. Those factors tend to shape our hearts more directly than a bureaucratic government agency.

This is echoed in another oft-quoted phrase by the late-legendary radio icon Paul Harvey, “Self government won’t work without self discipline.”

While government strives to do a lot of things for “we the people,” it simply cannot do the most important things.


  1. Great post. I agree with you. Having character - or the lack thereof - will shape us at our very core. When a gov't entity lacks the same, it is hard to expect them to instill any of those values in us or our children and future generations. Okay, I could go on - but I will stop here by saying that I agree with your thoughts, and that we (as a nation, and as individuals) need to grasp the reality that who we are is a direct reflection of the morals and values we set for and in ourselves. You cannot expect change to happen on the outside (from the gov't or elsewhere) if it does not first happen from within. Thanks again for getting me thinking!

  2. @Laura, applause all 'round - great insight! As always, thanks for the continued engagement. Your comments make the blog better for everyone who reads it!