Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stop treating government like God

Here is an excellent column by Father Robert Sirico from yesterday's Detroit News. The whole thing makes a lot of sense, but here is the opening:
The media lately have grilled government officials about their responses to natural disasters -- from the South Asian tsunami to the Gulf Coast hurricanes to the recent earthquakes in Pakistan and India. Media watchdogs want to know what government will do to relieve suffering, how it will rebuild and compensate victims, and what it will do to prevent problems in the future.

Well, we can stop this cat-and-mouse game and state the bottom line: Government officials are mere mortals. They are not omnipotent.

It is true that government officials often create the expectation that they will perform in a way that would remind everyone of their God-like power. That's how they get re-elected, and how bureaucracies survive and expand. Elected officials, in particular, want us to believe they will make us safe and secure in a world without risk. After the government inevitably fails to live up to these expectations, elected officials and bureaucrats promise to learn from the mistake and eradicate the problem in the future. Again.

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