The government we deserve
In the first leaflet written and distributed by the Nazi resistance group Die Weisse Rose (the White Rose), Hans Scholl writes,

Do not forget that every people deserves that government which it tolerates.

For better or for worse, our leadership reflects the values and character of our citizenry. While I am frequently upset with the blatant disregard for our nation's founding principles by our governing officials (not to mention the immorality), I also realize that is due primarily to the fact that most Americans do not clearly understand them. We not only tolerate these infringements into our personal liberties, we frequently vote for them and campaign vigorously for them.

Take, for example, the No Child Left Behind Act. This far reaching bill brings the power of the federal government right into my local school district. I see the fingerprints of it in the school newsletters I receive, and my children do not even attend public school. Nowhere in the Constitution is such power granted over education. But the majority of the debate I hear is about funding. The problem with this law is not that it is an unfunded mandate, but that it undermines the fundamental principle of local self-government which our founding fathers risked their lives to set into practice.

But what do the American people say? The survey data is a little mixed, but telling. Most favor increasing federal spending on education and are at least somewhat willing to raise taxes to do so. There is broad support for accountability through standardized tests (although we also believe this shouldn't be the sole measure of student success). And most believe that No Child Left Behind will improve education.

Most concerning, however, is the fact that a full 70% of respondents said they do not know enough about the act to form an opinion. We have chosen ignorance. Neither the issue of education nor of the impact of increased federal intrusion into our daily lives and the upbringing of our children is important enough to take the time to research the issue.

As a people, we have become ignorant and complacent. And we are gradually reaping the benefits of what we have sown.

Related Tags: , , , ,