I am of the opinion that government-run welfare is inefficient, curtails financial freedom, encourages laziness, and sometimes has the effect of exacerbating the differences between socioeconomic classes. By allowing themselves to be taxed instead of giving themselves, people lose the opportunity to actually serve others (which is extremely beneficial to both parties). They also rely on underpaid government employees to make decisions about how to use resources instead of using the intelligence and good judgment of billions of people around the world to make those decisions independently and wisely.
But, at least for the moment, we're much better off with government welfare. There are far too many people with far too little and if we cut the government programs, they'll starve and go without other necessities. Yes, there are many people who cynically take advantage of the system. But there are many people who depend on welfare for good and sufficient reasons.
I have similar feelings about gun control. The Second Amendment doesn't exist so we can hunt. It exists to guarantee that the country's military power rests with the people and not with a central government. The more restrictions we have on gun control, the further we are from that ideal. I'd like to get rid of guns entirely, but committing absolutely to nonviolence in any form ensures that those who don't have the same scruples are guaranteed to win as long as they're willing to start a fight.
The fact that the military has access to weapons that citizens may not own scares me. On the other hand, I don't believe that we have the moral maturity as a culture to use such weapons wisely. We're too unwilling to hold ourselves and each other accountable for the use of our weapons. More subtly, we're too unwilling to hold ourselves accountable for our angry words and for our unrealistic expectations. We're unwilling to do inconvenient things to ensure our own safety and unwilling to pay for outsourced security. And we're unwilling to come up with a viable solution for the mental health problems that exist in our country.
For the time being making some kinds of guns inaccessible is a reasonable compromise. But it isn't good enough. We need access to guns, but we need to change ourselves first.
All of this reminds me of a piece that Seth Meyers did on Saturday Night Live. His joke about the Facebook Like button hits close to home. Apparently, many of us believe that we can support candidates who promise to change the country for us. But they can't. We are the country. If the country is going to change, we have to do it. Each one of us. We can't wait for our elected officials to do it for us because that's simply not something that people can do. We need to give until government welfare becomes redundant. We need to elevate the way that we interact with each other so that violence, with or without guns, becomes unacceptable. We need to make wise, intelligent decisions on our own. We need to become so good that our government doesn't matter.