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Love Gov: Breaking up with government is hard to do

Here’s something new: an economic argument for small government presented as a comedic drama.

And Love Gov is a romance too, sort of. Alexis was thinking of quitting college to start her own business, but then she meets the strangely charming Scott Govinsky (known as “Gov” to his friends). To compliment her ideas, ambitions, and drive, Gov is so very caring and supportive. And eager to help. And he never seems to runs out of advice. Perfect material for a boyfriend? Alexis thinks so…at first. The problem is, Gov’s advice isn’t nearly as helpful as it seems.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Alexis’ boyfriend Gov is a stand-in for our government, which wants to mind our business because it cares for us so deeply. But as much as the politicians and burecrats might mean well, that doesn’t mean they are doing well…which is what Love Gov tries to show.

CAUTIONS

The series’ producer, the Independent Institute, is not a Christian organization. So, even as they are for limited government, they might be for less moral restraint too, as evidenced by the little boy at the very beginning (who has only the briefest of roles) wearing a shirt with a transgender rainbow on it.

A more notable quibble: because Love Gov is humorous, some of its serious points are made in an over-the-top manner, which could prompt the cynically-inclined to discount those points entirely. So it’s important to pitch this to friends properly: introduce it to them as the light-hearted discussion-starter it is, and don’t present it as any sort of weighty “final word” on the issues it raises.

CONCLUSION

The overall argument being pitched is for smaller government. While the group pitching it isn’t Christian, there’s a lot here for Christians to love, since we should also support limited, and thus smaller, government. Why? Because God has given different responsibilities to different types of “government.” The “governments” we’re talking about here are not of the municipal, provincial, or federal sort but rather family government, Church government, and yes, State government too. We can throw in self-government as well. These types of government are all appointed by God to take on different roles, and while who should have exactly what role can sometimes be difficult to discern, one type of government can only gain more power and influence at the expense of the others.

Which type of government is the most expansionist? The State. Its influence in our family life, the education of our children, regulation of business, management of healthcare, direction of the economy – that reach is already enormous. And just as the State’s expansion into education came by shrinking the parental role, so too its expansion into other areas comes at the expense of other levels of “government.”

That’s why Christians should want a limited government; because we know that God didn’t intend for us and the other types of government to abandon our roles and responsibilities to the State.

Another reason for a limited government? When the State takes on jobs God never intended for it they will tend to mess things up. Good intentions simply aren’t enough (Prov. 27:14); a good dose of humility about what the State can do, and shouldn’t even try to do is also vital.

Episode 1: An education in debt (6 minutes)

Alexis wants to quit school to start up a business and start paying off her student debt. Then she meets Gov, who encourages her to stay in school “because there’s nothing more important  than your education.” What about that student debt? Gov assures her, “You are going to have a lifetime to pay off debt…a lifetime!”

The Bible likens debt to slavery (Prov. 22:7) – it limits your ability and freedom to do what you otherwise might want to do.

Episode 2: Protection from jobs (5 minutes)

After Alexis graduates college she decides to pursue her small business idea. Gov is, once again, happy to help, though this time coming to the “aid” of employee Libby.

Regulations are brought in with the intent of protecting workers. But regulations also make it harder and more expensive to hire workers: One estimate concerning Canada’s tech industry had a 1% increase in regulations leading to a 5% decrease in business startups. The tradeoffs that come with government “protections” are often overlooked.

Episode 3: A rememdy for healthcare choices (6 minutes)

Alexis is looking for a new healthcare insurance plan, and Gov knows best. Meanwhile, Libby argues that choices and options and free market competition could produce healthcare for less.

In his documentary Wait Til It’s Free, Reformed filmmaker Colin Gunn makes that same argument.

Episode 4: House poor (6 minutes) 

Alexis goes house-hunting and mortgage-hunting too, only to discover that Gov has been spending her money, putting her tens of thousands in debt.

In Canada accumulated provincial and national debts averages out to $40,000 CAN per citizens while in the US just the national debt works out to more than double that at $80,000 US per citizen.

Episode 5: Keeping a close eye on privacy (5 minutes)

While Alexis and Gov aren’t together anymore, he’s still keeping tabs on her – breaking up with “the Gov” proves very hard to do.

This series came out soon after Edward Snowden revealed that the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) had been spying on its own citizens, though generally in aggregate – it viewed all the captured data as a whole, not tying it to specific people. But Snowden also shared that should the government want to look at your specific data it could do that too after getting a judge’s approval…which was always given.


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