Lately, everyone has been up in arms about how we shouldn’t trust the government on X. X could be health care, school programs, subsidiaries, etc. The biggest critics are usually the politicians themselves. There are two problems with this:
- It seems odd that you don’t trust the government on X, yet you trust the government to do Y. For example, you don’t trust the government for universal health care, yet you trust them for national defense. Why? Why trust them on one thing but not the other? I could imagine two replies to this: (a) the attributes of X aren’t the same as Y. X has qualities where the government cannot (should not?) be trusted with, whereas Y is something where you can (should?) trust the government with. But my reply is if that’s so, what qualities would that be? and (b) government shouldn’t interfere with the private interests of the citizens. Ok, that’s fine and a respectable philosophy. However, there’s a difference between the government is not to be trusted, and the government shouldn’t interfere.
- The second reply is more forceful. If the government isn’t to be trusted, then why are you in government? Aren’t you government to make government better? Aren’t you in government so that the people can trust it? That’s like saying company Z isn’t to be trusted, but I still work there. Imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr. said the government is not to be trusted with treating black people with respect, therefore I’m not going to do something about it. That’s preposterous. If you don’t trust something, yet you’re involved in it, then it seems to me that you have no right to complain. If you work for X and you don’t trust it, then (a) DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, or (b) quit!
It makes no sense to say that the government cannot be trusted to do X if you, yourself, work for it.