Who owes who?

There are two fundamental, polarly opposite, trains of thought that classify our political system. Each viewpoint carriers important implications for society, and even more drastic implications for the way government functions. As conservatives, we believe that with every specific, new law/opinion/action/ect. that is brought to our attention, there is a principle that lay underneath. With all this contraception talk, as a conservative the issue goes further than contraception, it is a matter of principle–in this case, religious freedom.

One principle that conservatives hold to is that government owes the people. Owes the people what? The people consent to pay taxes as long as the government fulfills its obligation (what it owes) to the American people, such as roads, national security, ect. Conservatives also believe that the government owes the people the freedoms preserved by the Founding Fathers. Conservatives believe that government owes us those freedoms because we are the people that give government its power. In short, conservatives simply believe that the people have more power than the government, and that the government owes the people.

Oppositely, liberals believe that the people owe the government. The logic is this–the government provides things that we like, so we owe the government however much money the government desires for those things. This is fundamentally untrue. Although government does provide us with some things that we like (and in a way, need), it is because we pay them that they provide us with these things–not because they provide them so we must pay them. The liberal believes that we owe the government for all the things it has done for us–we owe the government money, loyalty, and reverance (to the liberal, government is the highest authority, not the people).

The implications–

Although it seems trivial, who owes who doesn’t matter because either way we are getting what we “want” (highly questionable), the implications, as mentioned, are critical. On one hand, the government is allotted (or granted) certain money only because the government, with that allottment, owes the people certain benefits of a free-society–benefits that the people will hold government accountable to provide with their money. On the other hand, the people are allotted a certain amount of money (however much the government decides to allow them to have), because the people owe government for “all the things government has done for them” (also highly arguable).

Who owes who? Do you owe the government, or does government owe you? Do you possess rights, in which your government owes you to protect; or does government grant you rights, in which you must be grateful for?