Monday, June 7, 2010

Who's Your Daddy? The Evils of Governmental Paternalism

Who's your Daddy? It's a funny saying / question with a genesis in the mid-20th century African-American culture. It does bring up a thought-provoking subject, however, in the early 21st century. Just who is our father (and mother)? The US Government or the people we call Mom and Dad?

Traditionally, the role of parents is to help you learn to make good decisions and protect you from yourself. This parental authority is largely moral, as are many of the decisions they assist you in making. If you violate the parental rules and regulations, a parent's recourse is limited (especially today). Groundings and extra chores are the typical punishments handed out. When you leave home and / or reach 18, you may chose to hold to what you were taught by Mom and Dad or not. Either way it's your choice. If you want to smoke cigarettes, do drugs, live in an unhealthy way, cuss, and watch late night TV, they simply lack any compulsory authority to dissuade you from these questionable choices. Your mom's nagging not withstanding.

The scene changes markedly, though, when the Federal and State governments begin to assume the mantle of parental moral authority. In the past, the Federal government's job was to protect us from foreign powers, and insure domestic security on a broad scale. The state's job was to maintain order, roads, commerce, and protect the citizens from one another through law, police enforcement etc. Another major difference in governmental authority over paternal is now and always has been in the province of punishment. Mom could send you to your room, but the government could send you "up the river" and forcibly seize your assets! Big, big difference to my mind. But, the government's role in the past was minimal, and if you didn't rob, rape, or kill your fellow state residents, and declined to invade the USA, you were pretty safe from jail. At any rate, no state legislature or President ever considered it their province to take over your father's job once you reached 18!

In the 21st century our government has now taken on a decidedly paternal aspect. Today, the state government feels the need to protect you from yourself by enforcing state seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws, the violation of which can lead to hefty fines. Now, my Dad taught me to always use safety belts, and I personally think they're an indispensable part of driving. But Dad never threatened to pull me over and forcibly take hundred of dollars from me if I ignored his advice!

The Federal government, in it's new role as my Mommy and Daddy, is telling me I'll soon have to buy health care that meets their standards, or else! Why? To protect me from myself, and making bad decisions. How much I drink, smoke, exercise, and maybe even cuss, is now their business because my taxes (otherwise known as the government's money) are on the line. Hefty fines (and maybe even imprisonment) await me if I act the "willful child" and fail to comply.

Fellow citizens, Tea Party members, and patriots of America, we need to loudly and clearly tell Obama and Company the following; "You're not our Daddy, dammit!"

Oh, no...I just cussed. I guess they'll be coming for me soon!


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