The Government isn’t Your Neighbor

Reigniting Trust & Kindness in Your Community

You’ve watched The Andy Griffith Show, right?

It’s one of those staple classics of TV. It never gets old.

And even though I’ve watched it a million times, I still enjoy the tight knit community aspect of Mayberry. Everyone knows everyone, and people care about each other.

When hard times hit Mayberry, the residents come together.

It’s the ultimate example of a healthy community.

It’s an example that’s sorely missing in America.

Now, I’m sure communities like Mayberry exist, but I’m talking about a broader mindset.

A community focused mindset, that is.

A mindset that focuses on the community for support.

A mindset that recognizes the power, and potential kindness, of the community.

So far, that broader mindset has focused on Washington DC. It’s relied on politicians, policies, and government agencies for support. It’s fought over Federal, state, and local power.

It’s mistaken government for the community.

Politicians, not townsfolk, have become neighbors.

Food stamps, social security, and unemployment checks have become charity.

But that’s not how it’s always been, or should be.

Mistaking the government for community is not only erroneous, but dangerous.

…think fascist dangerous.

It’s also downplays the nature of a community, not to mention perverts it.

Here’s a few reasons why you should reignite your trust in your local community…

Government =/= Community

  • Government is power, community is togetherness
  • Government is force, community is voluntary
  • Government consists of elected leaders, community consists of individuals and neighbors

What makes the government an effective force at instilling order?

It’s its use of force. Force is what keeps the criminals at bay, collects taxes, and screws you and me over.

What makes a community a place of love, and togetherness?

It’s its voluntary nature.

Communities are voluntary. Governments are forceful.

Communities subconsciously elect their leaders. Governments consciously elect their leaders tyrants.

But what’s the main difference between a community leader and a government leader?

The community leader still remains a part of the community. He has no special executive powers. He’s not separated from his neighbors. He remains an individual among individuals.

Government leaders are the opposite. They’re removed. They have special powers. They’re an individual in charge of a flock.

Government leaders rule by power. The community rules by togetherness and unity. (click to tweet)

Communities are efficient compared to governments due to their tight knit environment and neighborly bond.

The Power of Private Solutions

  • Individuals know how to help each other the best
  • Localized control of resources
  • Putting a face to the needy

Who do you think knows the needs of the poor better?

Local residents, or DC bureaucrats?

Who do you think has met the poor and needy? Who do you think knows their names, trials, and stories? Who do you think can interact with the poor on a personal level?

If you said the local community, you’re correct.

Your teacher knows your strengths and weaknesses better than the principle. Your mother knows your socializing skills better than the school counselor. And the local community knows how to help their underprivileged members better than the Federal government.

The community knows exactly where their resources should go.

The community doesn’t send money (via taxes) to the federal government to figure out how to apply it. Instead, the community directly sends the funds where it’s needed most.

It’s centralization vs private localization.

The Power of Charity

  • Government “aid” never constitutes as charity
  • Voluntarism triumphs over redistribution
  • Bottom up vs top down approach

So, the community knows how to best provide charity to its poor.

That should be obvious, I would hope.

I mean, no bureaucratic agency has been applauded for good management.

However, there’s a prevailing view of government agencies as charitable organizations, or substitutes to failing charity groups.

There’s two things wrong with this view.

  1. The government isn’t a charity provider or substitute. Governments forcibly takes money from citizens, and decides to give some of it back. This is redistribution, not charity. Charity is voluntary. Redistribution is forced.
  2. It’s easy to think government “charity” efforts are working, and private charities are failing. It’s easy to pass a bill meant to help homeless Americans and assume it’s working. It’s harder to actively pay attention to private charities that don’t get much attention. Private charity isn’t failing, your attention span is the one that’s lacking.

Private charities will always have a one-up over federal welfare programs. They’re voluntary. You give to them because you want to. You benefit emotionally, socially, and morally/spiritually when you donate.

Federal welfare just doesn’t have the same effect.

It comes from taxes. They’re not voluntary. And they definitely don’t give you a satisfied feeling inside.

They also tend to make the payers look down on the welfare recipients.

A bottom-up system of helping the poor doesn’t have this negative effect.

If you live in the same community as the person you’re helping, you sympathize with them. You most likely know them, and appreciate them.

A top-down system does the opposite.

It creates feelings of superiority, ownership, and class division.

It’s also highly inefficient…as I’ve mentioned above.


Just like regulations, higher taxes, and less competition aren’t the answer. So it’s the same with government “charity.”

The government isn’t the answer to helping America’s poor.

The community is the answer.

And reducing taxes and regulations wouldn’t be a bad side package either. It would increase income leading to more donations.

See, it’s all about going back to that Mayberry mindset. That mindset of togetherness, trustworthiness, and kindness. (click to tweet)

The point of a community is to look out for each other. (Click to Tweet)

A community provides a safe environment for individuals to live their lives.

If we can’t trust our communities to provide such an environment, how in the hell are we supposed to trust our government to provide it?

Seems like sort of a stretch don’t you think?

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About John-Pierre Maeli

Keeping it simple and crystal clear, because anything else is useless. I'm here to not only inform you, but to also connect with you. That's what The Political Informer is all about. Feel free to follow me on either Twitter or Google+ Let's talk!

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