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  • John Whitehead

The Role of Government

I have been contemplating all that’s happening in our world. In the hope of gaining some understanding, I believe there is a question we must ask.


Though simple and direct, this question seems to be confusing and complicated for many.


The question is, what is “the role of government” in our lives?


The reason this question can be simple, yet confusing and complicated at the same time is, there are two schools of thought surrounding the answer.


On one hand, people see the government as their provider or benefactor. Its primary role is to ensure they have everything they need. This perspective supposes the government provide for the physical needs of its citizens. By providing them with healthcare, education, and not only affording the people the opportunity to live a comfortable life but ensuring they do so.


Here, “the role of government” is far reaching and virtually unlimited. Its purpose is not only to provide, but its purpose is also to dictate to the people how to live their lives.


In this scenario, the government rules the people, and the people willingly submit to the government.


On the other hand, government is not seen as a provider or benefactor at all. Instead, it is seen as an extension of or the voice of the people. Its role is to listen to and carry out the will of the people. The government is to provide for the common defense, enact laws, to require and ensure civility and to promote the common good.


In this case, the people rule the government, and the government submits itself to the will of the people.


Clearly, these two philosophies are diametrically opposed to one another, which is causing a great divide in our country. One thing is certain, if these differences are not addressed soon, it will surely be our undoing.


The divisive nature of these two schools of thought has created an opportunity for some to further the stated goal of fundamentally transforming America.


This transformation is calling into question, whether personal responsibility dictates “the role of government” or whether the government dictates the role of personal responsibility.


The answer will determine our future.


We must remember if there are those who are willing to be dependent on government, there are those in government who will take advantage of that willingness.


As with most instances in life, history is our greatest teacher. If we are willing to learn from that history, we can avoid the same fate. If not, we will certainly repeat it.


Historically, leaders have always exploited the self-centered, self-focused and self-absorbed nature of mankind. They do so because this nature can be easily manipulated.


One of the greatest tyrants of modern history understood this all too well. He said, What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.His name was, Adolph Hitler.


As always, we have a choice to make. We can either start to think for ourselves or I am afraid, we will be shown “the role of government” in ways we never imagined possible.


Hopefully, we will make our choice before the government rolls over us!


Psalm 146:3-5, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,”



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