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Federal government not as large as people think when compared to other nations

As much as I still get riled up about the political issue du jour, I’ve progressively found myself at an impasse; not only with the party and the figures I helped elect to power, but with the political system in general.

Now, I hope that last line didn’t make you, the readers cringe; for fear that I might be launching some clichéd diatribe about the inherent evils of government. My point is actually the exact opposite.

I don’t think there’s one of us who doesn’t take some issue with the greater implications of power structures as far-reaching and pervasive as the federal and state governments of the U.S.; whether this be in the form of the implications of Edward Snowden’s, or Chelsea Manning’s revelations about the incredible abuses of power that have been perpetrated by the federal government, or the incredible lack of regulation enforcement of certain state governments [for example, in West Virginia] that have chosen radical laissez-faire capitalism over the public good.

I reject the idea proposed by some that we should favor states’ power instead of federal power. Governing something as vast as the United States is bound to be imperfect and inefficient, and as such, we should not expect it to be; nor is it the kind of romanticized, yellow brick road to personal liberty that it is portrayed to be. Both are prone to inefficiency and corruption in their own ways.

I also reject the idea that the federal government should have the power to do whatever it pleases. Many Libertarians, for example, might disagree with the following statement, but in my time here in France, I have found it to be true. Despite what any of them, or any other ‘small government’ folks might believe about the U.S., our federal government is still very, very small compared to those of the nations of Europe.

Here, it’s against the law to publicly say anything negative about race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Now understand, I’m not trying to make a value judgment about this. I think racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance are all demonstrably wrong, but here in the U.S., I think we take our right to free speech for granted in a way we don’t really realize.

France and the other nations of the world have their own sets of problems, just as we do, but one thing we all have in common, other than our humanity, is a centralized government.

I hear much talk about the ‘right’ to be ruled over or the ‘right’ of governments to tell us what we can and can’t do being wrong or invalid.

I understand and respect the views of those who disagree with me, but I feel this is entirely the wrong conversation to be having.

Since the dawn of time, people have banded together for the common good and the common defense, and that’s what they will continue to do. To deny this by attempting to engineer a utopia that somehow circumvents the fallibility of human nature is to deny all that history has taught us, from Gilgamesh to Guevara.

Whether we embrace anarchism, small government, or big government, there will be inefficiency and corruption. But there must always be a power structure of some kind, for better, for worse.

It’s not about a ‘right’ to be ruled. Humans will rule each other. This is a simple fact. What the common man, what you and I want, by and large, is to pursue our happiness and our talents in peace, within the bounds of the law, with as little government interference in our lives as possible, but that comes with a price. The ideas of peace, justice, and morality might be self-evident, but they are not self-perpetuating. A power structure must exist to guarantee these things, or they do not exist, for all intents and purposes.

Power might exist to a point only to perpetuate its own existence and the continuation of its power, but I challenge all those who believe a central government is inherently useless or evil to suggest a better alternative; because if what they suggest is state sovereignty, and what they want is to keep the U.S. united, then they might want to take a look back at the Articles of Confederation to see how their proposal will turn out.

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