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Government (a Political Issue)


Introduction

Whatever political system is used, whether it is a form of democracy, monarchy, dictatorship or something else, its purpose is to form a government. A government has the power to make and/or to enforce the laws of a country, land area, people, or organization. It has the job of doing what is needed to protect its citizens from harm and to help them prosper. In general, how well a government is able to perform its job is far more important than what political system is used, although a good political system can help to ensure that a government will do a better job.

In order to tell whether or not a government is doing a good job, we will first need to understand the purpose of having a government. In general, a government’s goal should be to make its citizens’ lives better. More specifically, its job should be to protect its citizens from things like foreign invaders, criminals and various types of disasters, and to help its citizens to prosper, to live good lives and to achieve their goals. Therefore, a government is doing a good job, when it is providing, at a reasonable cost, the protection and the help that its citizens need and want.

Differences

Of course, different people may need and want very different things, and they may have very different ideas about what a reasonable cost would be for these things. This means that there may be a big difference in what many people think our government should be doing and the things that it is actually doing.

Given our differences, it would seem inevitable that there will always be people who are not happy with the job that our government is doing no matter whether or not other people think it is doing a good job. The problem is that a lot of people think or feel that our government should work the way they want it to work without regard to how well it would end up working for other people.

This situation has led many people to form or to join political parties and special interest groups. For the most part, the goal of each of these groups is to try to alter what our government does and how it does things based on what its members think our government should or should not be doing. This has meant an ongoing struggle for control of our government and the constant changes to what and to how our government does its job based on which groups have the upper hand at any given moment in time.

All in all, this leaves a lot of people unhappy with the way our government is doing its job and with what it is doing. I believe that when a government is doing a good job, everyone should be happy or at least OK with what it is doing and how it is doing it. Therefore, with all our problems and with so many people being unhappy, it is obvious to me that our government is not doing a very good job and that our political system needs to be changed.

Customizable

One way to make our government work better for everyone is to allow everyone the ability to customize their own personal version of the government so that it would meet their specific needs. In this way, if you did not like some aspect of how our government was working for you, then you could customize the way it worked so that it worked better for you.

Even with a customizable government, there would probably still be some people who would be unhappy with our government, especially anyone who felt the need to control other people’s lives. Even so, I believe more people would prefer this customizable government over any of the alternatives.

Of course, letting everyone create their own separate government would lead to anarchy, but there is way to allow people to customize some aspects of how much and in what way they interact with our government. Although there are many government programs that everyone must participate in, there are other programs were people could have the option to opt into or to opt out of it. These optional programs would just need to be structured in a way that they would be fair for those people who participated and for those people who did not.

Laws

In the previous subsection on democracy, I have already talked about how our laws need to be changed to protect people who are in the minority on some issue. The idea is to limit our laws to the minimum needed to protect people from being harmed by others and to help people prosper. By limiting how our laws limit what we can do, we would be allowed to better customize the way we want to live our lives.

With this more limited approach, our government would not be involved in protecting us from ourselves or providing every service, but just protecting all of us from outside dangers, and providing the services and the laws that would truly be needed by everyone. Those people who wanted to have other services or abide by other laws could do so individually, through some group in the private sector or as part of some government run program supported by the people who opt into it. As long as we do not harm others, we should be free to live our lives by our own rules. In other words, everyone could have their own customized version of our government.

Let’s look at one quick example dealing with car seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws. It should be up to each individual to decide whether or not they wanted to wear a seatbelt or a helmet, and to live with the consequences of their decision. Of course, those individuals who do not wear seatbelts or helmets should be required to pay higher insurance premiums to cover their greater risk of injury. The people who do wear them would then be charged the lower premiums that would correspond with their lower risk.

On the other hand, the law should require anyone who carries passengers to provide seatbelts or helmets when a passenger wants one. We should still require minors to be buckled up or helmeted, if they were too young to make an informed decision about wearing them. We would also want to make appropriate insurance provisions so that passengers who do not wear them, would handle any extra cost stemming from their decision.

Another example would be health care. As long as someone was willing to live with the consequences of not having health insurance, our government should not force them to get it. The only exception would be for emergency medical care where a hospital should not have to worry whether or not someone has insurance when they need to save someone’s life. If the patient did not have insurance and did not pay the bill, then our government could take care of paying the bill and should then take steps to get reimbursed by the patient.

Services and Programs

A similar thing needs to be done with the services and programs provided by our government as with our laws. The government should not force us to pay for specialized services and programs that are geared towards special interests or small groups when they do not directly or indirectly help everyone.

If these specialized services and programs are truly important, then they should and would be provided by the private sector. For instance, many communities use tax money to help build sports arenas and stadiums that benefits only a small group of sports fans. It is usually done in the name of economic development, but I can think of hundreds of things that would do much more for the community. If the sports fans really wanted a sports team, then they should support it out of their own pockets and not force everyone else to help pay for it.

Of course, there are still many services that our government would need to provide. For instance, it would not be very safe or efficient if we had competing militaries. We need to have a common military that would protect everyone. There would also need to be some common obligations. For instance, it would also not be very fair if everyone could decide how much they were willing to spend on our common military. It would be very difficult for our military to try to protect each person based on how much each person contributed to our military’s budget.

Given the need for some common services and obligations, and a desire to be able to customize our government the way each of us would like it to work for ourselves, our government would need a two tiered system of services, programs, and obligations. Everyone would have to belong to the first tier, which would include all the common services and programs that we all need, and enforce our common obligations. The second tier would include a wide array of services and programs, and their corresponding obligations that each individual could select from. This “a la carte” tier would give people the ability to customize our government to their specific needs, wants and desires.

The first tier of service would include the things that our government must provide to everyone in order for everyone to be protected and treated fairly. These would include things like the military, police, courts, and all the regulatory agencies that ensure that people, businesses, and local and foreign governments play fair. As citizens, we would all be obligated to pay for these services and to abide by the laws needed to protect us.

The second tier of service would include those things that our government could do better than the private sector, but that everyone does not need to participate in. Of course, I am not sure whether or not there would really be anything in this tier, since it is quite possible that, with the proper oversight, the private sector could do a better job of providing everything that was not in the first tier.

Leaders verses Representatives

When we talk about our government officials we often talk in terms of them being either our leaders or our representatives. In most political systems, the government usually rules over its citizens and the highest ranking officials are considered the leaders of state or the leaders of the country, and the government makes many of the decisions about how we live our lives. In a democracy, things are supposed to be different. The idea is to elect people to represent our interests in the government, but generally leave it up to each of us to decide how we want to live our own lives.

Everyone has different abilities and may or may not need help in the various areas of their lives. Some people are really good at managing their lives and do not need or want our government telling them what to do. On the other hand, some people do need a lot of guidance and do need someone to help them plan their lives. Therefore, we need a system that will work for the full spectrum of people who are completely independent to those who are much more dependent. Of course, in times of emergency, there may not be time for everyone to make their own decisions, so someone may need to take charge of our government and make some needed decisions for all of us.

Here again we have a need for people to have their own customized version of our government. People who can take care of themselves could more easily do so. People who need help could belong to an appropriate group that could help them manage their lives and set up some additional rules for them to live by. Unless someone demonstrated that they could not take care of themselves without hurting others, an individual should be free to decide whether or not they needed any help and whether or not they needed to join an appropriate group that could help them.

Elected Officials

We elect people to fill a wide range of government jobs. Not only do we elect mayors, governors, presidents, and local, state and national representatives, but also judges, coroners and sheriffs. In some of these cases, it should be obvious that we need to elect someone who is highly qualified to do the specified job. For instance, a coroner should not only have medical experience, but also have specialized training in the forensic sciences.

The problem with filling most of these specialized positions is that most people really do not have the necessary knowledge about these positions in order to decide who is best qualified. We must rely on the opinions of those people who are qualified to evaluate the candidates or try to make a decision based on whether or not a candidate presents themselves in a way that makes them seem qualified. A better way to handle this is to let the professionals handle the hiring and firing of people for these positions. It would then be the job of these professionals and our representatives to monitor the job performance of the people they hired, and to make any needed changes.

By reducing the number of elected officials, we can concentrate more on evaluating the candidates for the remaining positions. We would also have an easier time making these evaluations, because we would not need to evaluate people for positions where we do not have the expertise to make informed decisions. For the remaining positions, we would be electing people for the difficult, but easier to understand, role of representing our interests in our government.

Summary

If we were to make all of these changes, we would end up with a moderated democratic system. We would have a government that is moderated by virtue of what it does and by how we are represented. In turn, we would moderate the activities of our representatives. With a government that is working better for everyone, there would be much less need for political parties and special interest groups. In fact, as I will explain in more detail in the following subsections, we should actually get rid of the role of the political parties in electing our representatives.

Next Section

Political Parties - How to eliminate the partisan politics of our Political Parties.

Last Updated:
Sunday, November 26, 2017
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