Saturday, August 17, 2013

Government that enables

One of those puzzles of society which I think should be clear, is the role of government, so I went ahead and defined it as part of my platform for a new political party I call the Core Middle Party.

What I came up with for the role of government is:

The role of government is to protect and enable its citizens.

And I think that the idea that government should enable its citizens is the concept that is often missing, and can it really all be that simple?

How can such a powerful concept as governance be encapsulated in such a simple, single sentence?

Well I think government enables people in strong countries to focus on their personal lives and their families without worrying too much about constantly marching off to war.

I believe a good government should enable you to have electricity, and clean water.

Can you imagine working hard to get clean water? Plenty of people around the world DO have to work hard to get clean water, but many people in my country the United States get to take it for granted because government regulations, and institutions around water enable us to have clean water. (Though we shouldn't take it for granted, and need to keep careful watch so that we really do.)

Consider a counterpoint when government disables: the US Postal service is going through hard times and some politicians have talked about ending Saturday delivery of mail.

That is removing a service. Here government would NOT enable Americans to receive mail on Saturday, and in fact since we do so now, the change would DISABLE Americans from receiving Saturday deliver instead!

Now then, sound like a bad idea? Yup.

Why would you want your government to disable you?

Isn't that easy?


So much from a simple sentence! We just set some US policy for the US Postal service!!!

That's politics that works, and works for you. (And yes, we're doing politics here if you hadn't noticed.)

If you just think government protects or should protect, you lose the ability to evaluate whether or not we should have Saturday delivery by the postal service based on whether or not it enables or disables its citizens.

Do you want your government disabling you?

Unfortunately, some people do.

For instance, some hate entitlements, thinking that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are enabling people in a bad way, so they wish to disable those programs.

Notice "enable" is not really a loaded word one way or another.

To some it is a bad word! To them enabling citizens to not worry about food with Food Stamps is a horrible thing! And they will tell you it is, and try to explain why they wish to disable these people and send them scurrying about looking for food, when their government has enabled them to consider other things, like educating their children.

See how powerful a concept it is to be enabled by your government?

I want your government to enable you to do many things, and to enable you to worry about fewer things.

That position is a political position and defines me and people like me.

We're called Progressives.

And I decided at some point I needed a definition for that word too, and here's what I decided worked best.

Progressive (noun):  a person with a political position valuing intelligent governance with the belief that in an intelligently governed world people's lives tend to get better, not worse.

(Yes, I made that up. It's NOT an official definition from a dictionary. Maybe someday it will be?)

Notice it also makes it easy to define those politically who wish to take things away from you.

Take away people can with pessimism distort the discussion, as for instance, why assume we have to cut Social Security? What if instead we could expand it?

I think your government should enable you to have health insurance regardless of your ability to pay.

Some people are so furious at that idea that they are willing to try and destabilize the entire United States of America to keep it from happening.

Now then, consider how much you can do with a concept. Can you look in your life now to see where your government enables you? Where it disables you?

Does that help you figure out where you stand on political issues?

If so, good! We have a lot of work ahead of us in the United States of America.

And the better informed you are, the better you can make choices that make a difference.

And the more you can enable a brighter future for a nation that has to keep working to be great, as otherwise, are we really Americans?

Our nation was built by work. It will stand by working harder.

James Harris