The Lives Ruined by Government

Every time I read hear or see a story about governments ruining peoples lives, I get angry and sad and want to be able to help everyone avoid situations like these. It is so obvious that excess power of government, the power of force that “officials” hold over the civilian population is the problem. I just can’t understand how some people are so short sighted as to call for government power to regulate and force and rule, ignoring and forgetting all the murders, lies and betrayals of current and past governments.

Is it that we struggle to put a face and name to the murders? Is Anne Frank now too cliché an example, so we brush her name aside like a fictional character? Can people not put into perspective the countless lives destroyed by governments—6 millions Jews, 30 million Russians, 100 million Chinese, 20 million Native Americans—?

People need to hear about Hersch Altman, and read the book that he wrote, “On the Fields of Loneliness”. As the 80 something year old stood in front of my college Genocide and Violence class two years ago, he had to suppress the urge to cry, as this man recounted his childhood; a childhood that haunts him to the point of tears 70 plus years later. Could these people look Hersch in the eyes and tell him that giving government control over our lives—anything from telling us how much money we can earn to telling us the limits on defending ourselves—will end positively? Can they seriously sit there and think with certainty that the trade for “free” healthcare will not take from Americans as much as the Nazi’s took from Hersch?


Because you can talk about the children who go without healthcare, and I would never deny the stories are sad. But what exactly do they think lead Hitler to power? Do you think Hitler campaigned on chasing Jews through the forest and shooting them down, shipping entire families off to die, and inciting violence against any still in hiding? He campaigned on improving the economy, improving the health of Germans, and unifying the country.


Yet that was the last time Hersch saw his mother, running through the woods being shot at by the Nazi’s in the early 1940’s when he was 11 years old. The last time he saw his sister was after being rounded up into a courtyard by German troops. A Polish women, his neighbor had pointed he and his sister out when they were hiding in a field from Nazi troops.
20140523_110243Do we not today see some on the left delight as the IRS audits Tea Party groups? A far cry from pointing out your neighbors to the Nazis, yes, but isn’t it the same sentiment? What will that laughter turn into ten years down the road? They say their is a “War” on women. Well in war, there are enemies. Since I believe abortion is wrong, I must be the enemy in this supposed “War on women”. They say the NRA stands for the murder of children, and the GOP for the suppression of minorities, and the Tea Party for poverty. Well if the left believes that is what “the enemy” stands for, then why would they have any qualms about hunting us down, and punishing us for our crimes?

Hersch ran through the Polish countryside hiding from the Nazi’s, whose arrival was originally met with relief, after the abysmal treatment the Polish received from the Soviets. Obviously that sentiment quickly changed. Some people he ran into helped him, and others shunned him. He was starving and cold, living outdoors, and in barns, and gratefully sleeping in hay and next to animals for warmth. He went through hell.

Hersch lost everyone he loved: his mother, his father, his sisters, his neighbors, his Aunts and Uncles. It wasn’t a group who wanted to shrink the government that did this to him, it wasn’t a group that wanted to protect the sanctity of life, or lower taxes, ease regulation, or free the market. This was done by the government, the most controlling kind, when it was unconstrained by the people, unhampered by law, given all the power those in America today shout is needed to combat inequality, poverty, and prejudice.

A government big enough to give us everything we want, is big enough to take everything we have; and history tells us that it will. That is what the German government did in 1940’s Poland to an 11 year old boy named Hersch.

9 thoughts on “The Lives Ruined by Government

    • Just explaining that the more money and power a government has, the more able and likely that government is to abuse the civilians. So the proper thing to do would be reduce the money and power a government has, which will reduce the likelihood of massive human rights abuses being carried out by that government.

  1. I read Night by Elie Weisel in high school. I’m still not over it. You did a great job of sharing Hersch Altman’s story. God bless him

    • Thanks you! His story, as well as many others’ (particularly from that college course Genocide and Violence) certain left a lasting impact on me. It was an extremely depressing yet very eye opening class. In one essay response on the final we had to discuss ways to prevent further genocide. I said if gun ownership was universal that would go a long way towards curbing genocide, and I actually got a good grade–the professor said he hadn’t seen any other students take that angle.

      • Oh I’m sure! Most students probably responded with things like more regulations to protect minority groups and other useless propositions. Your “out of the box” answer should be so obvious to all but the talking points that are pushed on us by the media and politicians are believed by so many it’s scary. The only way to prevent power hungry people from trying to control others is for the individuals to be able to protect themselves. I would go one step further and say that a fair and just legal system is a neccessity too because when a citizen does actually shoot an authority figure in self defense they need to have the protection of the court or the beginning of the end will sneak right in

      • I completely agree, like the law passed in Indiana that even if a cop has a uniform, u can protect yourself feom them if they are violating your rights, breaking in without a warrant etc. And of course people respinded with “OMG they made it legal to shoot cops!” As if cops arent people who could just as easily victimize a person

  2. It’s unbelievable how people think once someone is “official” they are some how super-human and above the normal human emotions of wanting money, power, influence, etc. As a matter of fact, I think the exact opposite! I’m immediately suspect of the motivation behind wanting to be an authority figure and I’m more inclined to think it’s a rare bird that really wants to help and chooses an authoritive or political position to express that need. I feel most truly altruistic types are willing to help without needing the glory or power. This of course is not implying that every police officer or politician, etc has ulterior motives but I do feel they need to prove themselves that the motivation is noble

    • I agree; there needs to be a higher standard for people who seek power and we need to stop believing politicians and the like when they say they are in “public service”. It is sad though how the very people who need to be punished most for their wrongdoing (people like police who violate the law using their badge as an excuse) are more often excused or simply not punished.

  3. Pingback: Trusting the Government Does Not End Well | Joe Jarvis

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