Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Price of a Well Oiled Machine

The gradual creep of of governmental control over our daily lives marches on slowly, methodically, and unnoticed by millions. Way too many people actually believe that our federal government can be more efficient and more effective in managing our day-to-day affairs than we can ourselves. Year by year, Americans relinquish a little bit more of their freedoms for what they believe is security.

But on the whole, government-run programs have proven to be a colossal failure. Nearly thirty years, and billions upon billions of dollars after the U.S. Department of Education came into existence in 1979 at the end of Jimmy Carter's term, look at the still pitiful condition of education in America.

LBJ's attempt to create a "Great Society" failed utterly. Our nation's "War on Poverty" and "War on Drugs" have been nothing more than black holes, draining American treasure.

Medicare, Medicade, and Social Security limp along under the constant threat of collapse. FEMA flunked a major exam when tested on Hurricane Katrina. And yet our politicians continue to promise us the moon even as one government run program after another fails to deliver.

Just recently, two Democractic Congresspeople said that the federal government should take control of oil companies. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) said, “We should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market.” And Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), in a recent Congressional hearing let slip these thoughts about government control of the oild industry. “Guess what this liberal (referring to herself) will be about? This liberal will be all about socializing - um, uh … will be about … basically … taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”

Two government run institutions do seem to work fairly well, however. America's space program, run by NASA, has, with a few bumps along the way, consistently yielded a good return on our investment dollars. Perhaps this is because space, and the technology it fosters, is really an industry.

But the greatest, historically proven success in government run institutions is the military. We can disagree on the merits or even morality of fighting in Iraq, but most will concede that our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and even our Coast Guard are essentially well oiled machines. Yes, they too experience waste and mismanagement, but on the whole, they are far more efficient than other government run institutions.

But why is the military so much more successful at what it does than those government run programs on the civilian side? Could it be because military authority is so much more absolute? When a young man or woman joins the military, they surrender just about everything. They no longer have control over their time. They cannot choose where they live or what they do. Their wardrobe is very limited. They don't even have the ability to choose their own doctor or hospital should they need medical care.

So, be careful what you wish for. If you want the "government" to care for you from cradle to grave, then be prepared to surrender your freedom.


Post a Comment

<< Home