Democrats belief and confidence in what government can accomplish truly amazes me. They have an unbelievably unrealistic idealistic view of government ability. It can rescue people from the depths of poverty, rehabilitate juvenile delinquents, provide complete health care to every living person, and make life all happy and rosy.
Republicans, rightly so, criticize them up one side and down the other for these foolish beliefs. Decade after decade, generation after generation, POTUS after POTUS, we see pretty much the same results from government social programs – nothing. And when we do see results it turns out it’s not the government after all, but individuals stepping up to the plate and doing it on their own. Of course in his speech this morning Barack Obama said we don’t need anymore of this “on your own” stuff.
There is certainly a need for some government social programs. A safety net to help people out for a brief period when they’re out of work is, in my opinion, a worthwhile benefit. But year after year and generation after generation of welfare isn’t good for anyone.
Young children need and deserve an extra helping hand if their parents aren’t in a position to fully care for them. Besides basic things like food and shelter, they need someone to walk along beside them, teach them basic life skills that their parents may not, help them with their homework, and maybe even just be someone to talk to occasionally. In most cases our governments have shown themselves completely inept in doing any of these things successfully. And I don’t really blame government because it’s simply not possible for any kind of government to succeed in the world of social programs.
This is an arena far better addressed by private charities that receive no government subsidies. Organizations that have people working for them who have a real passion for what they’re doing. Organizations that can fit their services to the local community and that allow people to choose who they want to help them. Some might choose a Christian organization, some Catholic, some Muslim, some Secular, some Hindu.
And you know what, some kids will fall through the cracks. And there will be calls for government programs to take up the slack. And we’ll be right back where we are today – with a greater number of kids in need than ever. Do we want hundreds of kids falling through the cracks of non-government programs or tens of thousands falling through the cracks of government programs?
When it comes to helping women learn to take care of their kids, learn job skills, and basically get up on their feet, there are numerous options. The best I’ve seen, the one who has one of the highest success rates in the country and is praised by people from sea to sea, is just about 5 blocks from where the Republican National Convention was held in St Paul last week. The Naomi Center is a privately funded organization that has had huge success working with women one on one to learn everything from the most basic cooking, cleaning, and homemaking skills to fairly advanced computer skills that will help them get a job.
One key to their success is the dependence they place on the women themselves. The women have to want to live there (with their children), they have to want to work hard, and they have to actually work hard. Otherwise they’re not admitted to the program. And if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain during the program? Their slot is given to someone who does want to be there enough to work at it.
The Republicans 5 blocks away don’t get a pass though. They have an even more unrealistic idealistic view of what government can accomplish. They generally do have a slightly more realistic view of government’s inability with regard to social welfare programs. It’s other social programs where they’re misled.
While Democrats just want to spend our money with wasteful government programs, the Republicans want to spend our money and throw us in jail with wasteful government programs. The Democrats programs are at least geared, on the surface anyway, towards helping people. I believe they do far more harm to the people they purport to help than actually help them, but that’s another issue. Government is simply not good at being social.
The Republicans (and some Democrats) believe that not just monetary programs, but also throwing people in prison, is the answer to many of our social problems. They think that throwing people in jail will solve our Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, Prostitution, and Gambling problems. All problems that are just as bad today as they’ve ever been. Despite billions spent on them annually and thousands upon thousands arrested.
So while out of one side of their mouths Republicans scream at Democrats that government cannot solve social problems, out of the other side of their mouths they’re screaming that government can solve social problems. Which is it?
Guess what? Government equally screws up with all of them. These are all personal issues that need personal solutions. Someone has to decide that they want to free themselves from drugs or that they want to work their way out of poverty or that they want to stop drinking or that they want to get an education or that they want to stop working as a prostitute (note 1) or that they want to stop gambling.
Until someone decides this for themselves there’s little or nothing that any program can do for them, least of all an impersonal government program. And for those who do want help a private drug addiction or other program is likely a far better option than any government program run by bureaucrats.
It’s easy to foist our problems off on government. To think that government can solve these problems. It can’t. It has never solved any social problem nor even lessened any of them. The sooner we realize this and the sooner we put our resources towards private programs that actually work, the sooner we’ll begin to see some improvement.
Note 1: While Melissa Farley and others like to scream that all women in prostitution are doing so against their will, reality doesn’t agree. By most estimates about 96% of US prostitutes are working in the industry of their own choice. One area where this is indicated is in prostitution legalization organizations, such as SWOPUSA.org, that are ALL run by prostitutes. You just don’t see people who are enslaved running slavery legalization organizations or victims of rape fighting for the legalization of rape. Now, this still leaves 4% of US prostitutes as victims, forced against their will. It IS governments place to criminalize, arrest, prosecute, and punish the scumbags who enslave others. The problem is that by focusing on the entire industry, over 90% of our resources are targeting consensual adult prostitution while likely less than 1% or 2% actually goes towards helping those who are victims of slavery. This is not a recipe for success. Government and Law Enforcement need to focus on those who need (and want) help getting free from criminal slavery.