Many Americans are government haters for three main reasons:
* They hate paying taxes.
* They think government is a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy wasting tax payers’ money.
* They think government is intrusive and tends to do the wrong things.
I cannot agree with them more. However, hating government for those reasons without asking why is equivalent to hating autos and airplanes simply because they kill when they get out of control. Things don’t have to be bad if we manage them well. Government can be made to work for the people, not just for a few at the top.
The word “democracy” first comes to mind. In a non-democratic country, nobody dares to say he hates the government, for he will be locked up and charged with treason. In most cases, criticizing the government is not tolerated for citizens don’t have the rights to improve their government. So the authoritarian government continues until a bloody revolution replaces it. But there is no guarantee that a better government will emerge afterwards.
A democracy gives the people a chance to make a better government by voting, public opinion, a free press, independent investigation, boycott, protest, work strike, and peaceful revolution. However, it all depends on how the citizens organize and exercise their powers. It also depends on how well informed the citizens are.
Making a government better requires one very important ingredient — transparency insisted by the people. A corrupt and unjust government is never transparent. That is, you never know which rich guy pays the bribe and which high official receives it. In addition, you never know how officials embezzle public money. These are the roots of all evils. The givers/receivers and embezzlers always meet behind closed doors because it is shameful to do so in public. It is never possible to stamp out all corruptions because humans are greedy. At best, we can keep them to minimum.
Many people say private business can do better. Is it true? Do you really think there is no corruption in the private sector? In a dog-eat-dog environment, is the private sector really more transparent than the government? Do you know what a CEO or his lieutenants plan behind closed doors? The top corporate officials are not voted into power by the general public, so they are not responsible for the public interests. If they are, it’s out of their good conscience. Their jobs are to make more money for themselves and the company as a second priority. Some even try to run their companies to the ground in order to personally benefit from it.
Thus, the performance of a human organization such as government or corporation depends on the people working in it, particularly those at the top. They must be scrutinized, criticized and held accountable in a democratic society. That is the price they must pay if they want to sit at the top. Else, the human organization will not work for the benefits of the people.