re: Piss Christ (paid for with my money – my tax dollars). Ditto abortions. Ditto (forgiving taxes for) churches.
Reminds me of the bottom line in a free society. You can’t be free (of responsibility, or retain your free-will) if someone else pays.
Sigh. Best not to even attempt to use governance to "do good." Best leave that to the market, civil society, charity, others.
Freedom, not just free speech is encumbered when someone else is paying. Markets are a remarkable cooperative-effort creation. They can work (for good and bad) and I’m not personally responsible. A king or dictatorship can decide how to allocate resources and I’m not personally responsible. A voluntary-group, a democracy, a republic, etc. decides that I am a member of and I am (irrespective of how I voted). And I personally have to carry the moral obligation. Given the choice, I don’t want to be responsible (and if I’m not responsible, others can remain free).
Time to ask D.C. to emulate George Washington who returned his crown. Let’s elect a Congress committed to getting the central government out of the business of all things domestic, and return governance to institutions closer to the people, local political jurisdictions (perhaps divide each state up into twenty next-gen shires, each fully responsible for their own domestic affairs). These jurisdictions then would approximate the size of the original States, and citizens would be able to not only vote at the ballot box but with their feet.
Competition in governance would quickly end our current silliness. And if the Shire-of-Manhattan wanted to rescue Lehman Brothers, it wouldn’t harm (or help) the rest of us. There’s certainly no efficiency gains for size (that’s old industrial age thinking) in this day of computers and networks (and open source software). The Shires would tax and retain and spend most taxes.
We’d invert the power pyramid (and honor George Washington’s action), where the most important governance would be the citizen, their family, and their enterprise, their civil society and their voluntary institutions, and then local elected bodies. State and Federal governance bodies would fade in importance, and be mostly provide arbitration of disputes and coordinators of negotiations of issues spanning Shires (shared resources like water, roads, etc.).
This transformation would mimic the changes seen in corporate America as computers and networks (cheap/free information flows) made most headquarters staff obsolete (with Boards rewarding CxOs for downsizing by splitting the savings with them) and divisions became much more effective because they were closer to the customer and would make better, quicker decisions, not be dictated to by a remote HQ, and many often became separate companies. Ford Motor no lingered owned the mines to the dealerships (but became a value network). Ditto Boeing.
We don’t need a constitutional amendment, just State and Federal bodies willing to deconstruct themselves, saying “we’re not going to do X any more, phasing out over Y years, good luck.” Granted this would require the same love of the people demonstrated by George Washington. Those addicted to spending 10B$ a day and telling the people (and their enterprise) how to spend another 10B$ a day will deride it. Those in love with power will hate it.
Well, I can dream