Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"Addicted to Government"

A dead-on article today by Lorne Gunter in the National Post, regarding one of Canada's biggest problems... we're "Addicted to Government"
Addicted To Government
Lorne Gunter
National Post

Monday, October 22, 2007

In an ongoing series, National Post writers are being asked a simple question: If you had the power to change a single thing about Canada, what would it be? In today's instalment, Lorne Gunter argues that Canadians' faith in government is misplaced.

If I could fix just one thing about Canada, I would cure Canadians of their dependence on government, emotional as well as financial.

Frankly, our financial reliance worries me less than our emotional attachment.

Currently, for every $100 in income Canadians receive, just $10 comes from governments. While that is above the $8 received in 1980, it is thankfully below the $13 received in 1992.

The reduction is largely statistical, though. Private sources of income have risen in the past 15 years while government payments to individuals have remained flat. Pensions, welfare, employment insurance, tax credits, child care payments and so on haven't gone down so much as employment and investment income have gone up, quickly. Government payments are now a lower percentage of personal income in Canada, but not as a result of overall lower government spending.

More troubling, though, is the way far too many of us simply put so much faith in the benevolence of government and its ability to solve problems. Too many believe only government is capable of producing "fair" outcomes, only government can be trusted with society's most essential functions -- health, education and the well being of our neighbours and communities.

We trust government funding of science will produce only objective conclusions that lead to unbiased, technocratic solutions to our economic, social and environmental problems.

We think only government multiculturalism and employment equity can ensure a tolerate society, when overwhelming evidence is beginning to mount that we were far more accepting of newcomers and other cultures before governments told us we had to be.

The undercurrent of the both the recent Quebec and Ontario elections was that Canadians are increasingly fed up with government-mandated acquiescence to new cultures in our midst. The debates in Quebec over "reasonable accommodation" and Ontario over faith-based schools were evidence of a growing popular backlash against government attempts to engineer an elite view of the ideal society rather than trusting in the good nature of Canadians to reach compromises that make sense at the local and regional level.

We invest our national identity in government monopoly health care when it is clear that since 1984, when we removed the private sector, our health outcomes have begun to decline, our access to new technology has failed and our chances of finding a family physician have shrunk.

We are short 15,000 or more doctors in Canada as a direct result of governments choosing to cap health care expenses by limiting the number of physicians who, in the eyes of government budgeters, are the largest source of expense in the medical system.

Millions go without health insurance in the U.S. and we scold that they need government medical care. Yet a million and a half Canadians have no family doctor thanks to government planning and that fails to shake our devotion to medicare.

We view governments as the guardians of our human rights, failing to appreciate that throughout history governments have been the greatest rights abusers. Indeed, it is seldom possible for individuals or corporations to abuse rights on the same scale as governments without the willingness of governments to lend their monopoly on coercive force to the effort.

We cheerily pay high taxes in the belief the state can improve our quality of life better than we can ourselves. We accept government pensions that pay one-third the return of private alternatives for fear the market will cheat us, support making farmers sell their wheat to the government's grain department -- for their own good -- and let regulators choose what we may see on television and listen to on radio in the belief this will somehow make us more of a nation.

We even pay millions in taxes to subsidize Crown corporations, then insist the cost of government services is cheaper than private equivalents because governments treat consumers fairer and don't take profits.

Every once in a while, we rise up against elite opinion in this country. In 1992, we rejected the Charlottetown constitutional accord even though every major elite -- government, cultural, academic, business and media -- recommended its acceptance. But such rebellious acts are too few and far between.

Peace, order and good government may be bred in our bones, but we would be a whole lot freer and better off if we could unbreed them.

© National Post 2007



  • At Tue Oct 23, 12:06:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    Wow... where to begin. CC, do you really think this is the best the right has to offer in terms of good columnists? Andrew Coyne wouldn't use this to wipe his shoes.


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