What is the Role of Government Anyway?

by Dr. David Gruder

Arianna Huffington just wrote in an article I found on The Huffington Post website that "The presidential candidates’ view of the role of government should be one of the central questions of the last 36 days of the campaign."

I have been planning to explore this topic in some depth in future blog posts, but Huffington’s statement has prompted me to post a brief teaser now.

In advocating for smaller government, certain conservatives repeatedly refer to the following phrase in the preamble of the United States Constitution: "provide for the common defense." This shallow-thinking and ideologically fanatical subset of the conservative movement keeps repeating this phrase in their efforts to convince others that the main role of government is defense, and that government expenses should therefore be primarily limited to this function.

This is a great example of Spin. This form of spin involves stating the truth out of context in order to manipulate someone into believing the spinner’s position, because stating the whole truth would fail to do this nearly as effectively.

This is but one example of why, as an integrity eductor, I am in the process of developing a curriculum to help citizens, the media and leaders upgrade their understanding of  democracy and "freesponsible" citizenship.

One centerpiece of this curriculum is the ENTIRE preamble to the United States Constitution:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

It is important to know that the rest of the original Constitution articulates the specific details of the governmental structure the founding fathers created to preserve, protect and defend these core intentions. Whereas the Constitution’s preamble mostly articulates the government’s core responsibilies to be guardians of the gocommon good, the Bill of Rights, which were the first ten amendments to the Constitution, focused on articulating the rights of individuals and the states.

Is it not immediately obvious that the purpose of government is NOT limited to merely providing for the common defense? Governmental responsibility also includes:

  • Striving toward a more perfect union: This includes becoming a more mutually supportive collective as a country, and please do not confuse the term "collective" with "communism"
  • Establishing and safeguarding justice: This goes far beyond merely a legal system to broader matters of justice related to the essential value of "promoting the general welfare" listed below
  • Insuring domestic tranquility: The question here is, what role is government meant to play in this?
  • Promoting the general welfare: In addition to exploring what the "general welfare" means, I will in future posts laser in on what the word "promote" means (in contrast to "fund," for instance)
  • Securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity: Everyone from individual citizens to top leaders needs to be asking the question, "Just how does Debtism help secure these blessings for our posterity?!"

Governmental Integrity includes attending properly to all of the above items in addition to providing for the common defense (which I will also be writing about, because the question we must always struggle with is, "where do we cross the line in our foreign policy implementation from honoring this constitutional mandate to assuming responsibilities that go far beyond this?").

Citizen Integrity includes holding the government responsible for not neglecting or over-emphasizing any of these core intentions. It means requiring the government to function at the intersection of individual freedom and the common good.

Governmental and Citizen Integrity are two particularly important aspects of Societal/Collective Integrity, which in turn is one-third of the Three-Dimensional Integrity that ALL of us are called upon to embody. 3D Integrity includes self-integrity, relationship integrity and societal/collective integrity..

I will be covering all of the clearly and deliberately articulated government functions that have been set forth in the Preamble of the United States Constitution, among other topics, in the curriculum I am currently creating to help citizens, the media and leaders upgrade their understanding of  democracy and "freesponsible" citizenship.

Meanwhile, the first three pieces of this curriculum are already available. They are:

  1. The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World
  2. The New IQ Integrity Makeover Workbook
  3. The Non-Partisan Voter Savvy Webcast/Teleclass

I urge you to utilize these resources between now and when I unveil the next elements of this curriculum.

Should you be connected with any philantropists, foundations or other funding sources that would have passion about funding me to complete this vitally needed curriculum for kids and adults more quickly and disseminate it more effectively, please be in touch with me!

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