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Video transcript

what we're going to do in this video is think about how the core beliefs of US citizens impacts their views on the role of government and what I'm going to do is talk about a few core beliefs that are often associated with the United States but take it with a grain of salt it's obviously a very large and a very diverse country where people have many many many beliefs now one thing that often gets associated with the United States is this idea of self-reliance self-reliance or sometimes would be called individualism or these are related ideas individualism and this is the idea that hey look an individual if people don't get in their way can take care of themselves that the goals of that individual should sometimes or often trump those of the collective of say or say the government and so you could imagine someone who has a strong core belief in self-reliance or individualism they would want a limited government they would say hey government just get out of my way and I can take care of myself now a related idea to that but this would be going into the corporate realm or the entrepreneurial realm is the idea of free enterprise free enterprise and this is the idea that hey we can generate wealth we can create things we can innovate once again if enterprise if entrepreneurial activity is left to its own devices now once again this core belief in free enterprise would probably favor a limited government hey government just get out of my way the more that you get involved that just slows things down that just is a wet blanket on the creativity and on the wealth creation that we could do left to our own devices now another idea is that of equality of opportunity often associated with the United States equality of opportunity and this goes to the roots of the United States where we don't have a formal nobility obviously we don't have things like Kings that the country started off obviously there's some major exceptions around things like slavery but the the country took pride in ideas of equality of opportunity and to some degree they feed into first two bullet points that if there truly is equality of opportunity it kind of backs up the idea that hey let's just let people take care of themselves now on the other hand someone who really cares about equality of opportunity you might say well hold on a second not everyone is born into the same circumstance and because of that if you truly care about equality of opportunity there might be a role for the government to play in helping to level that playing field a bit so these folks might not want as limited of a government as some of the folks who are strongly in the camp of self-reliance or individualism now the fourth core belief I'll talk about and that is the rule of law rule of law now any country in order to function needs a rule of law but one thing that the United States takes pride in itself and I think United States citizens take pride in itself is that hey look if there's going to be a contract between individuals people will uphold that contract that because of a solid rule of law it's less likely that people will get away with crimes and there are examples that you could look around the world where people might have less faith in the rule of law well let's say yeah people are getting away with stuff or if I get into an agreement with someone there's no way that I can really enforce that agreement and so the rule of law this would argue for some role of government but it depends how focused or how limited of a rule of law people's core beliefs are and to make these core beliefs and the their impact on government a little bit more tangible I have some quotes from some notable Americans now several of these are presidents but their views are really indicative of broader views in the American population so this first one comes from President Ronald Reagan and he said government's first duty is to protect the people not run their lives so which core beliefs do you think Ronald Reagan is representing here well when I look at this it seems like he doesn't want the government to really mess with people's lives he's really talking about self-reliance individualism free enterprise and he is making some reference that look there is a duty to protect the people so he's saying there is you do need the government to enforce the rule of law but he seems to favor a limited government and he indeed did favor a limited government that does not get in the way of say free enterprise or people's ability to be self-reliant now some would argue on the other end of the spectrum here is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt in which he said not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men so FDR here is talking about a very active government not the type of limited government that Ronald Reagan seems to allude to here he's saying that it's the job of the government and remember the context years FDR was president during the Great Depression and the beginning of World War two and during the Great Depression you had massive unemployment and he's saying look the not only the future of our economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of the government to give employment to these men now his argument might have been look if we don't give employment then you could have a revolution on your hands the people are going to lose faith in in this idea of the United States they're going to lose faith in the government now the other hand some people might say the whole reason why we were in that mess is that the government was intervening too much and the more that the government intervenes it actually might not allow free enterprise to naturally solve the economic situation that we were in at the time but once again Franklin Roosevelt seemed to be a little bit less on self-reliance because he said look these people are gonna find jobs on their own the government needs to get them jobs now here's another viewpoint this is from President Barack Obama and here President Obama says the internet didn't get invented on its own government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet the point is is that when we succeed we succeed because of our individual initiative but also because we do things together so this is an interesting argument he's when he's saying this he's clearly making reference to these ideas of individualism and free enterprise that are strong core beliefs in the United States this individualism is we succeed because of our individual initiative and free enterprise these companies that are making money off the internet but his point is that these things didn't happen on their own that at least in this case the internet was started as a government project you had DARPA net and ARPANET which eventually evolved into the internet so that free enterprise could take over and do you know frankly allow you to watch this video he's saying that the government actually does have a role here and because of that role that the government has played it has actually allowed things like self-reliance individualism and free enterprise to flourish even more and last but not least I'll give you a quote from famous conservative economist Milton Friedman he used to be a professor at the University of Chicago and he said government has three primary functions it should provide for military defense of the nation it should enforce contracts between individuals it should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property and so Milton Friedman here is clearly advocating for a limited government in terms of his core beliefs clearly from the statement he says look a rule of law is necessary you have to have your contracts between citizens you need to protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property if you read more Milton Friedman quotes and I encourage you to regardless of where you are on the philosophical spectrum they're all quite interesting he has a strong underlying core belief in self-reliance individualism and free enterprise but I'll leave you there think about it on your own how does the core belief of a United States citizen including yourself how does that impact your view of the role of government