In 2020, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, more than any other year in at least two decades. An additional 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2019, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.
More than 550,000 people experience homelessness on a given night, according to the National Alliance on Ending Homelessness.
Gun violence, robbery, drug abuse, homelessness, high prices, low wages, unfair discrimination… I could make a list of all the problems that need solving in America and it would probably take up a whole book.
The problems facing America spread far and wide from one side of society to the other. They’re all so different, and they all need different solutions, but there’s two things most of them have in common: almost every problem facing Americans is a problem that Americans could solve themselves—but they choose not to. “Hold on,” I hear you say, “that doesn’t make sense.” Let me explain.
When a new problem comes up, what is our first reaction? “Well there oughta be a law!” Are thousands of people getting shot? No problem, just make firearms illegal! Are too many Americans dying from drug problems? Easy! Just outlaw drugs! That’ll do it! Too many homeless people on the streets? The obvious solution is more welfare and housing programs. I mean, seriously, how else do you expect to solve a problem? For decades, Americans have used the “Well there oughta be a law.” approach.
But this approach doesn’t work.
We’ve tried the formula of running to the government for help every time we have a problem, and we still have the same problems we’ve always had. We still have crime, we still have poverty, we still have people who can’t get along. Am I saying there’s a way to get rid of these problems completely? No. Humans aren’t perfect and there will always be problems in society, but the government is the last person or organization that we want trying to solve our problems. Simply put, the government is there to protect our rights, not run our lives, and when it oversteps its bounds, it tends to mess up everything it touches.
Take the welfare system, for example. In 2000, the federal government spent $233 Billion on welfare programs. The stated intention of these programs is to get people on their feet so they can contribute to society. Are they accomplishing their purpose? Well, in 2020 the federal government spent $9.8 trillion on welfare! That’s 42 times as much as in 2000. What happened between 2000 and 2020? Are there 42 times as many homeless people now as there were in 2000? Nope. Does the government have 42 times as much power now as in 2000? I sure hope not! Are there 42 times as many Americans now that rely on the government to solve all their problems? The sad truth is: most likely.
When we beg the government to make more laws and solve our problems, we’re just begging for more taxes, more debt, more government power, in short, less freedom. The fastest way to lose our liberty is to become dependent on a central government. The more dependent we become, the less free we will ever be.
But how can we solve our problems without the government? I get it. The idea of having the government there to fix everything through force is pretty alluring sometimes, but I’m convinced that no solution the government can come up with can beat a solution that we the people can come up with.
Do the neighbors stay up partying all night? Ever tried talking to them about it instead of just threatening to call the police every time the fun gets a little noisy? Are there too many homeless people in your community? Maybe if the government stopped spending your thousands of tax dollars on who knows what crazy welfare program, you’d have some extra money to actually help make a difference in someone’s life. Do you lie awake all night in fear that someone will break in with a gun? Instead of complaining that guns should be illegal, why not get a gun yourself, and learn how to use it?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a government, but I am saying that we have allowed our government to overstep its bounds and balloon into something that we should all be afraid of. The more laws, regulations, spending, and taxes we have, the more the government controls our everyday lives, and I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I want.
Like I said before, the fastest way to lose our freedom is to run crying to the government for help every time we get in trouble. The quickest way to earn our freedom back is to learn what’s going on and change our mindset so we can solve our own problems. More government isn’t the way to go. Sometimes the solution is simply less.