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Christopher Scott

Marine combat veteran, 4X author, speaker and host of over 1,700 podcasts and radio shows. 

What Do You Expect From Government

If you want freedom, you have to take responsibility.

What's the role of government? With everything that's going on in the news today with all the difference of opinion between the Republicans and the Democrats and independents isn't that the real question people are asking. What exactly do we expect government to do what do we expect government to provide? Isn't that really the core question When you get right down to it that's the main argument in this country right now.

It's not a new question not a new question at all but I think it really speaks to the heart of all the problems and division that we see today. Look people have problems, there's always problems there's always going to be problems but who's responsible for fixing that?

You see there's a real problem here because the government our, government was set up with one set of expectations and if the expectations have changed it creates a bunch of problems. What exactly is our government set up to do and not do? What is it even capable of? This question is the reason I believe we see a lot of this talk about changes to the government. Some people's expectations of government are changing and the government isn't set up to handle it,so naturally the people that have those different expectations want to change the government. So what does all that mean?

When you get right down to the basics everybody has the same wants and needs. Everybody's basic needs include food shelter and safety. Everybody wants that everybody wants that for their family. If you want to see people acting irrationally just go find people that are hungry. Just take a look at what happened in Venezuela they're killing each other and they're eating dogs just to survive.

When people get hungry or their children are hungry they act extremely irrational. The same thing goes for shelter. Take a look at what happened in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria. The island was devastated, people without homes left in mass numbers. They went anywhere to get a roof over their head. In fact just like Hurricane Katrina, the situation in Puerto Rico could result in one of our countries most significant mass exodus's. All because people don't have shelter.

The same thing goes for safety. When people don't feel safe, when they fear for the lives of the children they'll do very strange things. Food shelter safety it's a basic need of every human being. Every single human being on this planet has the same basic needs. When you see people WITHOUT those needs being met, for whatever reason, they'll follow whoever, whatever, wherever, in order to get it.

Let's call that level one. Level one is the basic needs of food shelter and safety. Then there's wants. Everybody could survive on those basic needs and anything above that you have to call a want or a desire. Even though for some of us they seem like basic things there still really not needs.

So let's call it level two, Level 2 is the wants what desires. This will be things like basic education and financial security and health care. Now all of this of course has a different degrees, if you're diabetic you might say health care is a need, but to stay with me.

I'm going use camping as an example. I like to camp, my family and I do a lot of camping. We love camping and most weekends during the summer you can find us out camping. What's the first thing you do on a camping trip? One of two things, either you start the fire or you set up the tent first. Because shelter is one of the first basic needs. The Second thing you do you start the fire because the fire provides a means to cook and provide some level of safety. But once that's done, Once the basic stuff is done what's the next thing you do? You set up a big comfortable chair by the fire so you can grab a beer or tell stories or whatever you do by the fire. Because after the basic needs are met you want to get comfortable.

In real life getting comfortable means access to basic things like convenience basic education and financial security and health care. I think on some level pretty much everybody wants these things. Some people are happy with that. Some people are just happy with that basic level of necessity and comfort. But some people want more. That's where we come and do a different ideology .and it's called the pursuit of happiness which really in its most simplistic sense it means opportunity. And, I don't know I think maybe it's split 50-50 people want opportunity versus people who don't really care.

Then you have a small percentage of people who are absolutely hungry for opportunity. Those are the people that are success driven the people that are hungry for more.

Look I'm not trying to get to philosophical but the point is everybody has the same basic needs the question is how did they get it. The things you want and need, where does that come from? And here's the problem as I see it. Do you have the expectation that someone else is responsible for those basic needs and comfort? When you do you give up the pursuit of happiness. You give up opportunity. How can you possibly expect to have both when you've turned over all responsibility. You can't have freedom and opportunity without responsibility. You have to say if you expect opportunity then you also have to take responsibility. Do you get what I'm saying there?

You can have all you basic needs met and arguably you can even be fairly comfortable in prison. Just go to prison and all your basic needs will be met you can even get free healthcare and in most cases a free education but what does that give you? What does that really accomplish? What opportunities there in prison? Do you see what I'm saying? I don't know maybe I'm just pointing out one of the natural laws of the universe but how can it be any other way?

If you want to look at the role of government in this country you can start with the declaration of independence. Not because it spells out the role of the government because it doesn't, that can be found in the constitution and I'll talk about that in a second. But the Declaration of Independence spells out what government SHOULD NOT be.

First, the Declaration of Independence wasn't a poem or some document meant to make people feel good. It was a declaration of war. It was absolutely a declaration of war against Britain. The majority of the document calls out the king of England. It spells out all the complaints they had against the king. But, it said a few key things.

Whenever most people think about the declaration of independence the first thing they usually remember is the section that says We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And it goes on to say, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. But it's both, not one or other BOTH - Rights and By The People, both must be protected. These are the most critical parts of the document and lay the foundation for the government they were creating.

The declaration of independence by its very title declares the independence of the people from the government. They weren't fighting for free health care or free college or free anything. They weren't trading one set of rules for another set of rules. They were breaking away from the rules. They said they didn't want government controlling their lives. Then it says something usually overlooked but one of the most powerful statements in it, it says, speaking of the people, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. It is their duty. It is their obligation to protect the freedoms of the people. This is was made America great. So when you hear people asking or saying America was never great I would argue if nothing else, in that moment of signing the declaration of independence that it was great.

It recognized God, it declared the equality of men and it established a very basic set of rules for society. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life or the right to live, liberty or freedom to be an act as you choose, and the pursuit of happiness that all people should have the equal OPPORTUNITY to pursue the things they wanted to pursue. It didn't guarantee anybody anything except those basic rights. It didn't make any false promises about free this or free that or entitlements or benefits. It established rights.

And, here's the thing. When government promises benefits. Whatever they call them or label them each and every one of those so called benefits takes away a little bit of freedom. So every time we vote for another government so-called benefit or program we're voting to give up a little bit of freedom. I'm not telling you how to vote, that's your choice I'm just calling it out for what it is.

Most if not all the men who wrote the declaration of independence were rich. Some very rich. They weren't perfect men. History has served to idolize these men and I'm not sure I agree with that but I don't know. I didn't know them personally. But they believed in what they were doing, knowing it could cost them their lives. They were taking a huge risk.

The final line reads: And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. They made this declaration of war that they might actually win it based on one simple premise. They didn't have sophistic generals and satellite images and war plans. Heck they probably didn't even fully know what they were up against. But they had one thing. And, that one thing, covering the last 4,000 years of history has ALWAYS prevailed. It's always won. In the end it's always come out on top. They had faith. They had faith in God. I'm not getting all preachy here but this is the history, 4,000 years of history.

But, let's get back to our expectations of government. What is government responsible for? The founding fathers had their idea and I have to agree times have changed a lot. Except for human nature nothing is the same as it was then or least very little. But, pretty much everything is different now. But does that mean the basic expectations of government should be different? What do you want from government?

I think it's pretty much agreed, amazingly we agree on something, that the government should protect us. I'm talking about the military. And, think most people would agree there is a role for police to provide a basic level of safety. And, there is language that talks about general welfare. I take that to mean welfare in order to protect liberty. So for example if a company is dumping harmful chemicals in a river then yes the government should protect the people downstream. That sort of thing. I don't take it to mean welfare like our modern day welfare system.

And, I think the role of government does go further so that there can be a reasonable and proper broader society. We all don't live on little islands. So roads for example are another function government provides. I think these basic roles of government are well established and most people would agree they are all a good idea. But where do we go from there?

I'll tell you there are a lot of well-meaning and very intelligent people who want to see the role of government expanded. They want more government and there's a bunch of reasons I think people like the idea of more government. What do you want? Do you want government to take care of you? I talked about the basic need of people and peoples wants and desires. Do you want government involved in those things? Do you think government is the best way to achieve those things?

There's two problems I see with that ideology. One, government doesn't give anything. It takes, always remember that. And two, like I talked about this earlier you might get a benefit but you give up a piece of freedom along with it. You have to weigh that and what it means to you.

Do you want to control your destiny or do you want to put that in the control of the government? Do you want government to stick to more basic functions or do you want government to provide more like education, college and health care? Do you trust yourself or do you trust government. Independence or reliance that's the question. And, that actually is probably the biggest point of this whole discussion. Where do you put your trust?

This is where the declaration of independence is very unique The signers said, And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, They had faith. They had all the faith in God and none in government. Do you see the difference there? I'm not asking you to buy into anything I'm just telling you what it is. But, that's what this whole conversation comes down to. Where do you put your faith. I'm not trying to get religious, that's not the point. And, I know very well when it comes to faith nobody's faith is absolute and people believe in a lot of different things. Some I agree with some I don't and you have to decide for yourself what you believe in.

But the founding fathers also had a lack of faith in government. Really a complete distrust. And, my question for the people that want free college and free health care and stuff like that is this. Why is it government you turn too? I'm just being practical here and I'll give you one example. I was having a conversation about free college. and a friend told me that Harvard offers all its classes online for FREE! The only problem is that you can't get college credits for those classes, you can't earn a degree even if you take those classes unless you pay. Why? Why isn't there an accredited free or very low cost online program. On the show I did on free college I brought this up. Why can't that be done?

But there's a second part to the question. Why does it have to be government that does it? Why not you? If you have a vision and passion for free college why don't you do it? And, you see it's the same with everything else. You're either going to step up and do it or you're going to rely on government, a government that only takes, you're going to rely on government to take it from someone else and give it you. I'll just leave you with this. What happens when someday the someone else they take it from it you.


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