Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Purpose Of Government

It is rare that I loan this space to the writings of another. But I ran across this piece and was so struck by its simple truth that I just had to share it with you.

"The principle purpose of government is to provide the optimal conditions through which human beings can acquire their most important necessities -- the highest of which is dignity.
While governments provide many essentials for their citizens, from law and order to social services, from good roads to education, the one human essential that government cannot provide is human dignity.

"The very premise of dignity is something acquired through personal effort. Dignity is the human aura that comes through self-reliance. Its underlying premise is independence. A dependent life is a fundamentally undignified life. Self-respect is earned through the sweat of one's brow. An heir to a great fortune may travel the high seas in a hundred-foot yacht and soar through the air in a Gulfstream V. But he will remain fundamentally bereft of dignity so long as he is living on someone else's dime.

"The effort to recapture the dignity that springs from self-reliance is what the tea party, at its core, is all about.

"America's rapid rise to the forefront of global economic power was not an accident but the direct result of the cultivation of a fierce individualism and a rugged self-reliance on the part of its citizenry.

"For all its flaws, capitalism fosters an independence that promotes dignity, while socialism creates a reliance that subverts self-esteem. Yes, government must provide a safety net for a rainy day. But only self-reliance creates a sunny life.

"The tea party is far from perfect. But in emphasizing self-reliance, it taps into a hidden human desire to live a life crowned with self-esteem."

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach


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