This country’s recent swing toward Tea Party/Libertarianism is just one more symptom of our wasteful consumer culture, born from the luxury and laziness of never being forced to make do with what you have.
Think back to the good old days. When your radio stopped working, you took it to the repair shop. Same for your television, vacuum cleaner, and all other household appliances. When your clothes started to wear out, you hemmed and darned and patched to get as much use out of them as possible.
Nowadays, you throw it out and buy a new one.
And day by day, the landfills swell with silicon, plastic, and precious metals that luxury convinced us could all too easily be replaced.
And this brings us to the Libertarian movement in America. In fairness, perhaps I should use the small “l” – as in “libertarian” – since these feelings seem less an ideology or dogma as they are a lazy attempt at avoiding the hard work of diagnostics and repair.
“Government is broken!” they bellow, as an excuse for removing more and more programs and services.
“Let’s throw the bums out!” they shout, always demanding replacement with fresh and inexperienced bums, as though this time it will be better. “This time,” they seem to think, “I’ll get my way as the Founding Fathers intended.”
The sad truth of it is that we don’t think it’s cost-effective to repair our government. Instead, we think it’s better to throw it out and start again. If the people of Libya can rise up against a murderous dictatorial regime, then surely we too can rise up against the tyranny of being forced to have health insurance.
Call me old fashioned. Out of touch. Dated. A Luddite. Whatever. I feel differently.
If your government is broken, then you fix it, rather than throwing it away and hoping you can afford to pay the price of a new one. If you don’t know how, then you ask for help. And you don't resent the repairman just because he knows more than you. Face it -- he apprenticed or went to trade school to learn his craft, and has a better chance of not electrocuting himself and destroying the very thing you want repaired.
If your relationship with your representative is broken, perhaps you can call, write, or email. Better yet, you can participate and see the problems from the shoes of those who put their careers and reputations on the line to make things better, instead of demanding that the next guy you’ve never met do a better job of blindly observing your dictates.
In the end, an old adage explains better than I can: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t…