Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Point: Government Force Is Not The Best Solution

HARBESON: The reasons behind this gift of a column

Several people asked me what I planned to write about this week since my column would be published on Christmas Eve. They wanted to know if I had a gift in mind for my readers in honor of the season.

This really irritated me. Until they pointed this out, it hadn’t really occurred to me that I might need to add more people to my Christmas list. I thought I was finished shopping.

I wasn’t sure what to do. Were people really expecting a gift? I mean, what would readers possibly want from me?

Maybe I could get away with a homemade gift. Let’s see, what would be really cheap and fit the relationship? I know, something made out of newspaper! Maybe I could fold some of those cool sailor hats I made as a kid. Or create something using paper mache.

Then I remembered I’m not crafty. That’s why I write a column.

So then I thought maybe I could just write a gushy, sentimental column. One of those columns chock full of sugary-sweet sappiness. A column dripping with syrupy emotion.

But that would cost a fortune because the sugar overload would certainly make me sick and we all know the cost of health care these days.

Finally I realized there are really only two possible gifts I could offer:

1. Continue sharing my opinions.

2. Stop writing the column.

Now, although I think some people’s idea of the best Christmas gift ever would be for me to do a No. 2 and simply shut up, I’m afraid I’m just not that generous. This left me with one choice — to keep sharing my opinions.

There are some good reasons as to why this is the best gift I have to offer. For one, I know you won’t shoot your eye out so I have no liability issues. There are a few others though.

I will do my best to analyze, question and investigate issues from my skeptical perspective of government as a solution. Until I see people moving away from using government force to solve problems, I’ll continue to look for local issues and actions to serve as real-life examples to help make my points.

I will refuse to accept any rationalizations and excuses for why we should let certain groups of people be held to different standards and be able to use force, especially when those rationalizations and excuses come from those inside the system that uses the force.

I will continue to respond to anyone who challenges me. Consider it your gift to me really because it helps me clarify my thinking even further. I want to hear your logical, reasoned arguments so I can test them against my theories, principles and values. It’s an excellent way to move forward in my personal lifelong learning process.

I hope one of the best reasons why this column is a good gift is my refusal to accept that what we have now is the best we can do. I will not and cannot pretend that government is good. When more people begin to understand this enough that we start to see real changes, I’ll have my perfect Christmas gift.

My Christmas wish and message is really very simple: When we have a problem to solve, I want our first thought to be clutching our neighbor’s hand, and not a government gun.

I hope you enjoy this gift all year long. I sincerely offer it with humility, joy and always a touch of humor. I hope you accept it, but either way I’m going to have fun writing.

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson wore a newspaper hat made from past Sunday’s edition and now has Lindon Dodd’s face (web readers, he's another columnist) tattooed on her forehead.


  1. One of my favorite gifts, for sure.

  2. I'm glad you liked it because those paper hats just weren't coming out too well. :)

  3. "My Christmas wish and message is really very simple: When we have a problem to solve, I want our first thought to be clutching our neighbor’s hand, and not a government gun."

    Best gift EVER! Thank you so much.