You make an excellent point about government vs. private institutions that really do the same thing, just different “branding” perhaps. And it’s interesting to think of anti-government (which I am not) as having some historical basis in the south, post-slavery/Civil War. I’m not from the south, I’ve just been here for awhile.
One big difference, in my opinion, is that much of government exists simply to perpetuate itself. I’m pretty cynical about politics, and the ineffectiveness of politicians to get anything done at all. And when they DO get around to doing something, it’s great stuff like the No Child Left Behind Act, Dodd-Frank, mandatory sentencing, the Affordable Care Act (take a look at http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/06/25/six-problems-with-the-aca-that-arent-going-away/), etc. And let’s not forget the IRS.
(I am personally interested in the ACA as I have had cancer (ups and downs for the past 8 years), am self-employed and don’t have many options. )
I’ll absolutely admit that having affordable and available health insurance, improving our educational system, reforming the financial industry, holding people accountable for their crimes, and having a fair tax code are all very important issues that could benefit from intelligent and concerted action. In my opinion the government has not provided good answers. Special interests and politics have wreaked havoc. Is it better to have bad laws created than none at all? I don’t really know. I just think that, in particular, the federal government has gotten it wrong much of the time. Good intentions, perhaps. But much of what is done is pandering either to the press or special interests, or to the far right or the far left.
I have to believe there is somewhere in the middle we can meet, and agree on the big ideas, because in the end I think we all really want the same thing (a safe and happy life for ourselves and our families). Government at some level is undoubtedly the right way to get many things done, but maybe not everything. I’m a big believer in self-reliance, but I can’t imagine how someone can be expected to pull themselves out of poverty if they have terrible schools. But schools can only do so much. Families need to be supported (and I don’t care one bit what a family “looks” like), but is that something government can do?
I could go on and on (and apparently I have…), but my hope is that young people like you, who have had the benefit of great role models and great education, will help create long-term solutions. We need you to be the leaders who can reach out to the middle, listen to all sides, and craft consensus. I really do have great confidence.