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French philosopher Jacques Ellul warned about making everything political. He called this the “political illusion”—the belief that most of our problems are political and therefore require political solutions. Truth is, not everything is political, nor does it have a political solution. The problems of addiction, and poverty have dimensions outside the political realm and therefore lasting solutions remain outside of politics. It takes wisdom and restraint for political leaders to understand this. Family, church, and nonprofit charities play a role in solving societal problems and in achieving social health. So the next time you're tempted to ask your legislator to sponsor a bill or pass a law, ask what might be done first by other sectors. Chances are, going that route will be more effective in the long run.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center