Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Role of Government
The nation is currently politically polarized. The essence of this schism is the perceived role of government. The Democrats have as their central thesis the idea that government needs to be directly involved in meeting the material needs of all of its citizens; while, the Republicans take the position that government's primary function is the security of its people and should not be involved in any other aspect of the lives of its people.
The theoretical divide between the parties is immense; however, in practical terms there is not much difference between them in that the leadership of both parties is wholly dependent upon the financial largesse provided by special interests that, for the most part, represent the wealthy, i.e. the corporate class.
The current ideas regarding the role of government are for this reason terribly flawed. They do not work, for neither viewpoint is grounded upon the unerring commitment to ethical and moral principles. This is the core of the dilemma not only within the borders of the United States, but also in human societies in general. It is the mindless pursuit of national self interest, geopolitical-inspired policies, empire building and a blind and a myopic view of national sovereignty that has led to exorbitant military budgets, the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction and ultimately war. It is militarism that thwarts and often negates human progress; it is the unbounded use of violence to achieve selfish ends that undermines our collective humanity.
I propose a radically different reason d'être for government. In my mind, the motivating force in government needs to be the global eradication of all the inequities that thwart human progress. Billions of the world's people are suffering needlessly from abject poverty, preventable diseases, avoidable hunger, environmental degradation and political oppression. It is completely unacceptable that the fate of so many human beings is dependent upon their place of origin. These inequities are especially aggravated by the siphoning off of so much of the global wealth towards military expenditures, corporate welfare and by the apparent insensitivity of the affluent class to the plight of the world's people including those who live within their own countries.
There is no real reason why humans cannot collectively create a better world for their own species and, likewise, accommodate and sustain the wondrous diversity of life on the planet. We are in desperate need of a new paradigm to frame human existence. Currently, so much of public policy throughout the world is driven by crazed and, often times, delusional thinking. There is, however, a definite path towards collective sanity.
The primary incentive for change is the unavoidable reality that if the global status quo remains intact, the future for humanity is particularly grim. Short term thinking and analysis especially from the sole perspective of profit and loss has already shown itself to be inadequate and disastrous. At this juncture, it seems quite obvious that beneficial change will be in the hands of future generations. There are numerous signs that a significant proportion of the younger generation has become acutely aware of the fragility of the environment and the severe plight of those less fortunate. They have many tools available to them in terms of information about the world they live in provided by the Internet and they are highly connected with each other globally through the wonder of what is referred to as "social networking." Significant and lasting change is, by its nature, cumbersome and slow, for it must work its way through the hearts and minds of the population. As we have seen on numerous occasions, reform imposed from above is not necessarily the best approach.
There is a deep-seated and persistent hunger that manifests itself globally; this hunger is for a more equitable, just, peaceful and saner world. There are many communities throughout the planet that are working towards this goal in innumerable ways. These organizations are clearly growing in size and number and they are becoming more and more interconnected. If this trend continues, it offers significant hope for meaningful change, for it may ultimately expand the idea of family beyond the rigid boundaries of genetic affiliation to encompass all of humanity.