An optimal government of the people, by the people, and for people, recognizes first that “the people” is actually a broad swath of individuals with unique perspectives on life and how to live it. The people, as mentioned in the Constitution, is not referred as an entity unto which one solution, one culture, or even one “best” fits at all.
Consider the marriage/civil union debate. In a Republican culture, marriage is a government and religious institution into which only one man and one woman may enter in the bonds of matrimony and the framework of family. In a Democratic culture, marriage is a union of romantically linked souls, regardless of gender or faith, upon which the government is contracted as the approving authority. But these are colored options that honestly shouldn’t exist. Why? Because by asking the government to be either one or the other implies it must favor one or the other, which is ardently unConstitutional in spirit and sets a foul precedence of cultural warfare using governmental power as its battle ground vis-a-vis, what we have today.
Instead, imagine the government had no record of your race, gender, age or orientation. You and one other legal adult, under voluntary premise, contracted to each other mutual legal right and authority over each other’s property in perpetuity of life and death. While your first thought might be to whom you married, what if it were to someone else? Perhaps two old Vietnam vets, both older men in their 60′s and 70′s, living together as heterosexual roommates, wanted to share assets?
Divorce the idea that the government must provide a service under a cultural premise. Marriage is a cultural institution — for some it is religious in nature, for others not, but marriage, itself, is cultural. The government need not care if your civil union is about marriage or simply a business contract. All it should mind is that two consenting citizens share legal rights with each other, be that husband and wife, a homosexual couple, two siblings, a parent and adult child, or two friends, regardless of orientation, faith, color, creed, age or race.
Under this concept, a civil union is only, and ever remains, a neutral government service, available to all, and tied to no culture or faith.
The government best serves when it controls least, as too many cooks spoil the soup, and the government is too many cooks with or with you being in your own kitchen.
First you deconstruct the Federal Government to its absolute base. What must the Federal Government provide the states cannot?
1) National Defense
2) National Foreign Policy
3) Interstate Services – FBI, Currency Management, etc
What can the states provide, themselves, if their citizens wish to pay for it through taxes instead of by themselves?
5) Energy Policy
6) Parks & Services
7) Arts and News Broadcasting
8) Unemployment Benefits
First, when you mandate the government of all provide these services, it will only provide it one way, and even providing it at cost to a taxpayer who may not wish to pay for it is following culture over neutrality. Should someone trust their own ability to pay for or choose their children’s education, they shouldn’t be forced to pay for someone else’s child. That sounds cold, and there are facts supporting the educated culture is a healthier market, but it does not justify imposing a culture of “success” upon someone who may not agree with your definition of success.
Perhaps success in their eyes is a life of clean, hard work in a field, commitment to faith, and dedication to a simple family environment. In the eyes of technology, we might call that backward. But consider the benefits of such a life (as we might compare the Amish). They lack some things we have, but we also lack things they have. To imagine our superiority because of better boxes with buttons is a foolhardy belief, indeed.
While making murder and theft illegal across all 50 states is something no one but the evil-minded can disagree with, forcing people to collectively pay for education, healthcare, parks and services or unemployment benefits is something many honest people can disagree with, and because there can be disagreement, we necessarily cannot enforce such a policy across the whole.
It matters not if some think it is best when all do not agree. When honest men can disagree, it automatically must be relegated to a lower level, such as a state, county or city (or even better, just the marketplace), for the very highest concentration of like-minded people to vote upon directly for their own communities, and in which they will voluntarily contribute.
This neutrality of government offers those who live in such communities and still disagree with their much-smaller majorities, to leave those communities for those like-minded of themselves, and yet still remain under the magnanimous protection of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, which we as Americans hold sacred. When we move a cultural enforcement to the national level, such as a belief that all must have the same healthcare, or that all must abide government-approved marriage between a man and woman, we are watching governmental favoritism.
Government is not a beneficent hand, because what is beneficent for one is not beneficent for all. It must remain neutral and offer only universally acceptable services, such as the most basic of laws and enforcement of them. When an honest people can disagree, government cannot make the decision. The people must come to a compromise among themselves to live in harmony, or else they can leave their communities for those better suited for their dispositions.