During the recent massive flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, the rain was so heavy and the rising waters so fast that many residents and tourists were trapped in their homes and hotels. As First Responders both on and off duty mobilized and scattered to the most dangerous places in the area, thousands of people remained trapped by the rising waters.
At first, lone citizens began to arrive at these locations to ferry trapped tourists and residents to higher ground. As these courageous citizens continued their efforts, the call went out to the community to send boats to certain areas. Individuals showed up and worked tirelessly, using their own time, assets and fuel to play a vital role in thousands of rescues. These were not citizens “mobilized” by some order from the State or City. They were individuals making a difference in the lives of their neighbors.
But their care for their neighbors is not the only story here. Neither is the heroism of First Responders in Middle Tennessee. Their efforts are still drawing praise from all over the region. This tragedy highlights the reality of government’s inability to solve every problem. It was never designed to do so. You see, during the flooding the government did not have enough boats. Truth is, government never has enough of anything to take care of everybody. It cannot and never will.
Whether we talk about water rescues, health care, retirement planning, product regulation, border security, community peace, hunger, child care, etc., government does not have the resources to solve every problem. A citizenry that expects such will be sorely disappointed. A citizenry that believes this myth to be true, or maintains that it is true for others only perpetuates a belief that cannot be substantiated by reality. There is not enough tax revenue, not enough fees, not enough tariffs, not enough anything to provide the be-all end-all for all who expect to line up at the federal trough to be cared for for their entire lives.
The Founders expected individuals to be connected within their individual communities through neighborhoods, churches, or other organizations in order to encourage good citizenship and dependence upon others. Such a paradigm requires a certain expectation of individuals to behave in a way that does not alienate them from their neighbors. The Founders never intended for the Federal Government to provide one single solitary thing for any individual. The Enumerated Powers expressed dealt with regulating a level playing field for individual rights and for the ability of commerce to flourish. They would have bristled at the thought of a powerful federal entity picking winners and losers either through the tax system or through entitlements to certain individuals or groups. These powers were reserved to the States and to the People individually.
Enough boats in a water rescue come from boat owners. Enough health care comes from a bustling health industry, enough retirement comes from responsible, accountable citizens saving their money. Depend on government and you will eventually be stranded. Whatever we allow or expect government to give, government can take away. Build your own boat and look out for your neighbors. If you do not have your own boat, be enough of a neighbor that your neighbor with a boat looks out for you in time of need.