My Thoughts on Why You Should Trust Your Neighbor, Not the Government
Every time you turn on the news, you see government officials clamoring for more power. Like Wesley Mouch in Atlas Shrugged, they keep begging for us to give them more responsibility and powers so they can solve all of our problems. As if they won’t just create more problems, as government involvement tends to do. Even worse, in my opinion, they usually premise their need for those new policing powers on the idea that you can’t trust your neighbors. That’s hogwash, especially in the context of Big Government and government power. When it comes time to decide between trusting the person next door to not kill or harm you and trusting the government to not ruin or end your life, you should certainly trust your neighbor, not the government.
Now, I’m a realist. I understand some people have horrendous neighbors and some might even have criminal neighbors. But, generally, you don’t. People have their quirks and eccentricities, but as long as you strive for a live and let live status quo, things will be humdrum at worst. At best, you might even be friends with them. So, worst case, you have neighbors that are pretty bad and might be engaged in some illegal activity but it doesn’t really affect you. Best case they can be your friends. Most people fall somewhere in between, so overall it’s generally a pretty good and relaxed state of being as long as everyone minds their own business.
Or, they convince you that you can’t trust your neighbor to choose for himself which plants and pharmaceuticals he’d like to consume, so they launch an expensive war on drugs that has many negative externalities and causes incarceration to skyrocket, empowers cartels and other violent criminals, and degrades almost every civil liberty.
Or, the government says your neighbor is spreading “hate speech” online, so they need to limit everyone’s free speech so that no weak-spined imbecile online gets upset by a word or phrase that they might find offensive.
Maybe your neighbor was irresponsible with his money and didn’t save or invest during his working years, does that mean that the government has a right to take money out of your paycheck to support him in old age? In other words, does the government have a right to rob Peter to pay Paul? I don’t think so and neither did James Madison. The list could go on and on; the conditions for tyranny in America are already met, so it’s easy to describe one plausible example after another.
Looking at those four examples, what’s the common theme? Someone is doing something that you might find distasteful, but as long as you generally trust or ignore your neighbor, those things don’t affect you in the slightest. Sure, they’re bad, but that’s immaterial. Liberty is the end-goal in America, not forced, Puritanical public morality. If you’re concerned about someone’s behavior, talk about it with them. That would mean you actually care and aren’t just being judgemental or nosy. Do that rather than giving idiots like AOC the right to dictate what you can and can’t do.
However, once the government gets involved, everything changes. What was once a situation that didn’t affect you has somehow transformed into government policies enacted by unaccountable bureaucrats that impinge on not only your liberty but the liberty of everyone else. Now, some NSA goon is spying on you and monitoring what you say online, the ATF is making inane and byzantine gun laws to control what law-abiding citizens can own what firearms and the DEA could bust down your door at any moment because of a false tip. Those aren’t conspiracy theories; each one of those examples is well-documented. People die or have their lives ruined because the government has the power to do so. Few people die because their neighbors were irresponsible.
So, that’s my long-winded explanation for why you should trust your neighbor, not the government. Would you rather occasionally be annoyed by their eccentricities, or have to deal with a lifetime of dealing with an ever-growing and ever more oppressive government? I’d choose the first option any time.