Monday, February 15, 2010


I read a column by Bonnie Erbe today on the school lunch program that really got me thinking. I wasn't surprised by her support of steps by the federal government to dictate the contents of school meals. It was pretty much what I expected. What got me thinking was her claim to be a government minimalist.

She said "I am a government minimalist in the sense that I believe government should do only that which individuals cannot do for themselves." I had to stop and think about this. How many things do you and I do on a daily basis that we can't do as an individual. Most of these things don't require government action or interference (although it is all too frequently there), and yet somehow they keep getting done. Maybe that's because over the generations humankind has been around, we have developed organizations and mechanisms such as families, teams, clubs, churches, companies, charities, associations, corporations, etc.. to do what an individual can't do alone. We have used the strategy of coming together in groups to solve most of the problems of life and civilization, little to no government required.

Far too many people today think that once a problem is too big for them to solve as an individual it's automatically a government problem. They forget what families, churches, clubs, charities and companies do on a daily basis. Governments show over and over again they are good at very few things. Governments exist for a very limited number of functions, and once they go beyond those functions they tend to make a royal mess of things and they always reduce freedoms. Let's stop using the Erbe definition of minimal government.

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