Are Americans Getting the Government They Deserve?

The last line of my previous post – “Americans deserve better” – has sparked a number of skeptical emails and comments. Let me clarify.

It is a popular saying that people get the government that they deserve. This has rarely been more false than in current times. The fact that most Americans are politically ignorant does not entitle other people to control their lives. The fact that someone does not have fire insurance does not entitle his neighbor to burn down his house. Similarly, the fact that most people are politically negligent does not entitle government to trample their rights. Because individual rights do not come from government, politicians have no right to revoke the rights due merely to people’s negligence. And popular ignorance cannot legitimize political absolutism.

The fact that many half-wits still support Newt Gingrich doesn’t mean that I deserve to have my remaining liberties destroyed if that Georgia demagogue somehow captures power.


6 Responses to Are Americans Getting the Government They Deserve?

  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit October 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    I dunno, Jim, talking about what people “deserve,” as opposed to what they “earn,” seems awfully socialist to me. You’re not going over to the Dark Side, are you? 😀

    More seriously, though, I suppose the difference of opinion arises from where you’re standing and looking at it. If people ARE wanting to be poorly educated, incurious, greedy, selfish, and … OH LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!! … attention deficit oriented (not to mention a total lack of memory for anything more exciting than what Snooki wore last n ight) then *aren’t* they really getting the government they deserve, particularly when they are participating in the election of that government?

  2. Jim October 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    I guess I’m perplexed by the notion of assuming that anyone deserves any government.

  3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit October 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    It may well be a function of my being old and grouchy, but it just seems that more and more people are not capable of self-government. They have no interest nor intent in developing a respect for the rights of others, they have an utter inability to do much of anything without severe levels of personal guidance or attention, and I’ve got decided doubts about their ability to ever be educated to liberty. They don’t WANT to be free, nor do they seem comfortable with the idea of others being free.

    The key, as best I can tell, may rest in recognizing that there are just going to be two types of people in the world – those who can self-govern and those who simply cannot – or will not – do anything without an externally imposed and enforced framework.

    We need Brian to bring his Psychology degree in and help explain the problem, I think. I know I’m old and grouchy and may not be in the most dispassionate and analytical frameworks of mind on the issue any more…. 😉

  4. Tom Blanton October 19, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    I’m perplexed that anyone wants government after having a little taste of it. However, I do feel that Republicans and Democrats do in fact deserve they government they get. It is pretty obvious that they all love government more than they love their own children. That makes them some sick and twisted bastards in my book.

    We can look to Mencken regarding the meme of people getting the government they deserve:

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    I guess he believed this because:

    Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.


    Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.

    I don’t think Mencken was aware of the Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe this psychological syndrome explains political masochism. It’s just not natural when the republicRATS pull the lever that makes them hurt over and over again.

  5. Tory II October 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Americanos love their govt. They know their govt would never harm them. But for one of them (me) they want our govt to finally silence me forever. I hate our govt, it’s our worst enemy.

  6. Tory II October 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Bush has established a presidential tactic to acquire votes for re-election. Obama has learned the tactic of invading and killing dictators (for the purpose of acquiring votes for the next election).