The Spirit of Self-Reliance

The spirit of self-reliance is sorely lacking in the American people and in our communities. Modern America has become reliant on the government to provide for us. We look to the government to provide jobs, to take care of the less fortunate, and to fix our problems. We want the government to care for the homeless, to care for the ill, and to even provide education for our children. However, this country was not built on the back of government it was built on the backs of self-reliant people, in self-reliant communities. Too often our communities are highly dependent on the government for their budgets. They are dependent on the government to rescue them when they face a crisis. Instead of looking into the community to solve a problem that the community faces they look to the government to solve the problem for them.

What can we do to change this? How can we restore our communities to be self-reliant instead of government-dependent? The first step we all must take is to become self-reliant. Instead of looking for government programs to provide for us, we must look at providing for ourselves and our families. While I lived in Alaska I had the privilege of being able to travel across the state and into some very remote villages. Most of the villages that I traveled to were only reachable by airplane. At times these villages would be cut off from the rest of the world because of weather or other factors that made it so that aircraft were not able to go to that village. During these times these villages had no other choice but to rely on themselves.

Our communities are dependent, not independent

Have you ever thought about what would happen to your community if for some reason the federal government no longer existed? How would the roads get repaired if your community no longer received money from the federal government for road repair? What would happen to your school if it didn’t receive funding from the federal education department? What if your fire department didn’t receive federal grants for equipment? The point I am trying to make is that our communities are becoming more and more reliant on funding from the federal government for every aspect of its basic needs. From providing water to educating our children our community relies on funds from the federal government to provide these things.

Compounding this dependence is our community’s reliance on state funding for many of these same items. While this seems like a great way for our communities to get the funds that they need to provide essential services. The truth is that it makes our communities vulnerable. Every state is operating with significant debt that has to be paid. Who pays for this debt? The people paying taxes pay for the debt and the interest that is derived from that debt.

It is very rare when the debt a state holds goes down, it often increases as more demands are made of the state. Most of these demands are from the communities within a state for additional funds for increased services. One indicator that this debt is increasing is to look at the budget shortfall for each state. This year only 4 states are projected not to have a budget shortfall. This translates to 46 states that will have to find some means to resolve the shortfall. Some states will reduce funding for various programs provided to communities others will increase their debt.

Dependence makes our communities vulnerable

On the surface, the funding that our communities receive from state and federal programs seems like a good thing. The truth is it makes our communities depend on the state and federal governments. This gives the state and federal governments a means to control our communities. When a community relies on funds from outside sources, the source of that funding can control that community. With this control, a community can be forced to abide by rules exceeding the authority of that governing body. This is done by simply withholding funds that a community is dependent on.

Another vulnerability faced by communities dependent on funds from either state or federal sources is the loss of those funds due to cuts in the state or federal budgets. This can happen at any time and changes in budgets often occur when a new budget is being considered. Then there is the problem of budget shortfalls. This can cause withholding of funds from communities for no other reason than the budget does not have enough money. In 2022 it is estimated that all but 4 states will have budget shortfalls. How many of these shortfalls will result in communities not getting the money they rely on? When this happens then the community faces a  budget shortfall themselves and now has to determine either budget cuts or going into debt. Again, leaving the community vulnerable.

Lessen your vulnerability

Self-reliance always requires reducing how vulnerable you are. One factor that needs to be considered is how reliant are you on governmental services? The less reliant on governmental services you are the more independent that you can remain. The government will always use the services it provides as means to control the people they govern. They do this through denial of services when you fail to comply when they exceed their authority. When they can make you uncomfortable often you will comply in order to lessen the discomfort you experience. However, if you weren’t dependent on a particular series provided by the government then withholding that service fails to cause you any discomfort.

Our communities can do the same. By refusing to accept funds for various services from state or federal sources then state and federal governments can no longer use the threat of withholding these funds to force compliance. Our communities should start working to find other means to fund various services they offer instead of relying on money from either state or federal sources. By funding these services locally they can start taking back control of the community.

While it is not fiscally responsible nor is it prudent to stop receiving these funds all at once, a plan can be established that would allow a community to move to a point where it no longer needs funding from either the state or the federal government. Once that is accomplished then the community has to ability to resist when these governments overreach their authority. It also grants the community a means to hold accountable these governments when they do exceed their authority.

The Spirit of Self-Reliance

Until we get ourselves and our communities to start demonstrating a spirit of self-reliance then we will not be able to restore the liberty that our founding fathers worked so hard to give us. If we are not portraying a spirit of self-reliance how can we expect our children to develop that self-reliant spirit? We have to work towards becoming self-reliant then work towards making our communities self-reliant. The more dependent we are the less liberty we have and the more control we are. Our country f=declared its independence and removed the shackles of dependence. Now we face a point in time where our dependence is causing us to lose liberty and freedom. Our dependence is making us slaves to the government. Will you start restoring your spirit of self-reliance or will you remain shackled by your dependence?

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