Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Defense of Government

Is Government inherently bad?

Are all politicians and bureaucrats self-interested and/or self-serving?

Of course not. But bloggers and the media tend to write stories that focus on controversial government decisions and political corruption.

In fact, government routinely provides citizens with an organized system that allows elected officials, bureaucrats and citizens to work together for the common good of all.

In defense of government and the good work it does, Douglas J. Amy, Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College writes,

"democratic government is one of the greatest institutional inventions of modern Western civilization. It allows us to pool our resources and to act collectively to address the serious social, economic, and environmental problems that we are unable to deal with as individuals. The public sector is also how we provide for essential human needs that are neglected by the market – such as a clean air and water, safe workplaces, and economic security. What’s more, government serves as an essential instrument of moral action – a way for us to rectify injustices, eliminate suffering, and care for each other. In short, democratic government is one of the main ways we work together to pursue the common good and make the world a better place.

This is not to deny that American government has its problems. There are incidents of waste, some regulations are poorly designed, and some politicians abuse their power.

More importantly, our government is certainly not as democratic and accountable as it could be, and special interests have way too much political power. Such problems need to be fixed, and this site identifies several needed reforms. Nonetheless, whatever drawbacks this institution has right now are far outweighed by the enormous benefits that we all enjoy from a vast array of public sector programs. On the whole, government is good for us."

Amy's site can be accessed here:

*The New York Times Editorial Board says this site is worth checking out and I concur!

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