Today, the American government has grown into a hypersensitive organization that is ruled by the media and even with the public’s easy access to current events, the American citizens have never felt more isolated and alone. This, along with many other issues, are why a more limited government would be beneficial to our country. While all citizens have the right to vote if they are not criminals and of sane mind, one would think that the citizens of America would finally have a voice; unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Women’s, LGBT, and welfare rights, to name a few, have evolved into national organizations that can impact actual change with the aid of the media. However, the political and justice system in America is declining by the day.
As the government attempts to adhere to the many desires of its people, the court system, for example, has twisted into a process of obtaining finances from those who do not have any. Personal lawsuits are as common as the rising sun. Large corporations can avoid persecution for the many wrongful acts they commit. If one has the finances, they can hire an intelligent lawyer and even avoid prison time altogether if they can pay bail. Advocacy groups have also held a crescendo in popularity and functionality. As the government seems to have risen to the point that it affects every part of our daily lives, we must ask ourselves, when does government, govern too much, and is this supervision by the government actually beneficial?
With such a high level of media coverage, important news stories, such as changes to laws, do not gain the popularity it requires to give the public the ability to act accordingly. Instead, shocking events such as murders or plane crashes are on the front page of news articles and magazines. Per Hugh Heclo’s article, Hyperdemocracy, “we, of course, are complicit with the media in all this. Each of us has a limited attention span, a desire to respond quickly if that makes our voice more likely to be heard, and an inclination to favor dramatic entertainment over substantive information” (Heclo, 1999). The rise in Internet-connected users and the media has many advantages and disadvantages. However, more disadvantages affect the way the American government operates than the advantages it claims to have. Heclo further states that, “in the media battle over public impressions, those who seek to educate the voters by providing information, or to answer opponents’ criticisms, usually lose out to those who “frame” issues and images, shift focus and counterattack, avoid admissions of ignorance or uncertainty, and exaggerate conflict over policy for dramatic impact” (Heclo, 1999).
This change to politics from a media standpoint is further supported by President Trump’s presidential campaign. We all saw how by merely staying in the media spotlight by issuing remarks that ruffle the feathers of the American voters, one can then sway the media to their liking. This has severe consequences for the fate of America as the old ways of gaining presidential office, such as hard work, relevant and necessary policy changes, and strong personalities, are now outdated. The relationship between politicians and the American populations have changed as well. With the current level of technology, politicians have access to polls and other forms of data collecting methods that render actual communication with those they oversee uselessly; demographics and political characteristics are compiled to be used when needed. Politicians now have a steady and reliable stream of information that they use to make decisions about what to say and what not to say, to specific states and communities. While this information can raise their chances of winning a certain area’s approval, it does very little for strengthening the likelihood of useful changes to be made to the political system and our daily lives.
The result of all of this is the shared mistrust and dislike of the American government by its citizens. Thomas Jefferson explained in the “Declaration of Independence” that when a government acts with unjust power, its citizens have the duty to resist it (Jefferson, 1776). By following Jefferson’s words, we must, as a country, unite and fight this rising threat to our political system by means of technology and the media. We must become educated of the ways the government obtains their demographics, know how to spot and disregard fake news stories, and instead, focus on the seemingly outdated methods former political figures used to gain popularity and votes. Social interaction must create trust between us because trust begets civil discourse. Civil discourse is required in our form of government because two groups typically debate political policies, ideas, and new methods of thinking. Trust, although usually a good thing, allows compromise to occur. Thus, lack of communication and trust disengages the threads of society.
Radical individualism, the opposite of engaged citizenship, tends to ask for more democracy, even though the Constitution sought to create a government of indirect democracy. While Heclo and Jefferson’s statements strive to impact change through the action of revolution, Jefferson’s method was subject to the approval of others and was anchored in philosophy. Heclo, on the other hand, simply was talking to the single individual. It is for these many reasons that limited government isn’t only beneficial, but necessary to ensure that America moves forward in the right direction, by means of the everyday citizen’s efforts.
The United States, as W.E. Williams describes in his article, “The Entrepreneur as American Hero,” is a form of free society. There are many advantages and disadvantages of a free society. In Williams’ article, these pros and cons are shown from the perspective of business and financial areas. First, in a free society, income is earned by offering goods and services to others; as a result, it is common that “some people are more effective at serving and pleasing their fellow man than others and thus earn a greater number of certificates of performance (higher income) and hence have greater claims on what their fellow man produces” (Williams, n.d). This means that the income earned by everyone in a free society is fair, as the income one generates depends on what that person contributes to the society and how others value her or his performance. Secondly, in a free market system, “enterprise profits are performance-related, namely finding out what human wants are not being met and finding ways to meet them” (Williams, n.d). Compared with the captive market, it is true that a free market is more initiative than the captive market, especially in the production area.
On the other hand, there are some disadvantages of a free market described in Williams’ article. He states, “in a free economy, the pursuit of profits and serving people are one and the same” (Williams, n.d.). With the development of technology, many things are changing. The pursuit of profits and serving people are no longer one and the same; it tends to be the pursuit of profits above serving people. This says a lot about how the United States government and the many large businesses that consist of in America, operate. Currency is what seems to motivate the world. The government’s ability to provide us with the many laws and regulations that allow us to earn an income and be able to spend it on what we desire seems insignificant when America is in trillions of debt themselves. When the American government is doing such a poor job with its own finances, who is it to help its citizens?
Given how the media and other forms of technology influence the American government and the state of its financial system, one can only conclude that a limited government would be ideal. The American government often does more to hurt its citizens to help them. Per Ronald Reagan’s “Farewell Address to the Nation,” he states, “I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts” (Reagan, 1989). Overall, Hugh Heclo’s article was far more influential in the effort to explain the health status of the American government and how it is failing us. While the American financial system is essential to all of us, W.E. Williams failed in comparison with Heclo’s words of praising limited government. Additionally, it is the media and polls that provide us with the state of our economy, and this information can be altered to suit different purposes. As we move forward, we must see that the future of our great nation is up to us, the average citizen, and not rely on those in power to implement the numerous changes we need to succeed.
Heclo, Hugh. (1999). Hyperdemocracy.
Jefferson, T. (1776, July 4). Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: National Archives.
Williams, W. E. (n.d.). The Entrepreneur as an American Hero.
Reagan, Ronald. (1989, January 11). Farewell Address to the Nation.
Categories: Random Thoughts