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Big Government Tramples Dignity

March 18, 2012
Mike Maharrey, Tenth Amendment Center

A giant painting hangs in the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. titled The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

The canvas measures over 14 feet tall and spans more than nine feet in width. It depicts Columbus landing in America in symbolic fashion. The painting features an intricate hodgepodge of colors, shapes and figures, swirling in a way that almost overwhelms the senses. From a distance, it blends together in almost chaotic fashion. But get up close, and you will notice amazing details impossible to see from further away. For instance, Dali painted himself into the scene. He depicted himself as a kneeling monk clutching a crucifix. Spears on the right side of the painting hide the image of the crucified Christ. And on the bottom left, you will notice flies, a symbolic nod to a Catalan folk legend about St. Narciso’s crypt.

The further one stands away from the painting, the more difficult it becomes to see these amazing details. Individual elements crucial to the story fade away at a distance.

In a similar fashion, political bodies remote from the people they govern lose focus on individuals. Centralized governments respond to groups not people. The significance and relevance of the individual disappears when the government gets too big and too far away from the people.

Proponents of centralized power in the U.S. argue that minorities need a strong federal government to protect them. But statists define minorities as groups – blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, gays, etc. They ignore the most vulnerable minority – the individual.

In fact, identity politics homogenizes people and sticks them in silos. It strips people of their individual characteristics, their differing opinions and their divergent world views, and pits them against each other based on meaningless criteria such as skin color, or how they have sex or how they worship (or don’t). Do we really believe every black person thinks and believes the same things, or that they all behave in like fashion?

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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