We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, November 23. 2014
The infantile relationship to government
You all know this already, but I just wanted to jot it down -
In the US, government has grown in importance as it has grown in power, in firepower, and in money. There was a time when nobody really cared about the federal government because it had no impact on daily life.
The Civil War, the Progressive Era of Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, etc. changed all that. Government changed the culture. Over 100 years, government trained the masses to think "government should do something" whenever life presents them with obstacles, challenges, heartaches, bad luck, and expenses.
To win votes and to enjoy power, government decided to turn citizens into neo-serfs and to cement the impulse to turn to government instead of to God, to their own ingenuity, to family, to neighbor, etc. This infantilises people, weakens them, takes away their dignity.
Nowadays, everybody has his laundry list what government should do for them in their own interest. It is like a list for Santa. I want governments to do less and less.
Santa, keep your toys.
Posted by The News Junkie in Our Essays, Politics at 16:54 | Comments (7) | Trackback (1)
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I'm in total agreement, Junkie! I remember when 'subsidize' was a dirty word and now it's all about what the government will subsidize for who. That is theft.
There are so many egregious examples of outrageous government spending, but I'm still waiting for some politician - or even an ordinary citizen - to stand up and say that a program does not warrant the theft of money from taxpayers. I'm waiting for someone to ask the question of the next politician who bleats on about the 'rich' paying 'their fair share' to ask exactly what their fair share should be and what should the fair share for everybody else. Everybody wants somebody else to pay and I can't find where in the Constitution it says the government has the power to take money from one person to give to another. If we had kept that one rule, we would ALL be better off.
In his most recent book, "The Rule of Nobody," Philip K. Howard — a Manhattan lawyer who has thought deeply about the law, suggests that government has grown so large and inefficient that it is almost grinding to a halt, and in many cases, actually does.
We desperately need, he says, a new electric grid. Yet the vast territory and numerous jurisdictions it crosses make it impossible to actually put someone in charge with the authority to make decisions and overrule lesser authorities.
News that the Chinese can hack our utilities to shut them down, suggests that others probably can as well. And then there's the possibility of EMP attacks, which we have told the world would devastate the U.S. That would seem to indicate some urgency to rebuilding and hardening off, but it is apparently impossible under the current web of permissions and approvals needed.
Congress admits that we are over-regulated, but finds it impossible to actually eliminate bad laws — and they pass off the regulation part of their omnibus bills to various agencies. If something doesn't work, it isn't repealed, but another regulation is added on top to fix it.
Howard recommends a 15 year sunset provision added to every bill. After 15 years you have to vote to extend or eliminate or revise, and then it gets another 15 year sunset provision. Interesting. I recommend the book.
A lawyer urging regulatory restraint is like an undertaker saying death sucks.
But if we Americans were to set about giving to the state governments things to do that had better be done by counties and towns, and giving the federal government things to do that had better be done by the states, it would not take many generations to dull the keen edge of our political capacity. We should lose it as inevitably as the most consummate of pianists will lose his facility if he stops practicing. It is therefore a fact of cardinal importance that in the United States the local governments of township, county, and city are left to administer themselves instead of being administered by a great bureau with its head at the state capital.
Over time, it is not the state that became the great bureau but Washington, DC. The Presidency has degraded by politics to be essentially a super-mayor. Fiske, also, observed that while we have figured out how to run rural districts and at the time (1900), states, even the federal government. But neither direct democracy nor representative democracy seems to work for city governance. He cites that it is most likely because of all the intimate services provided by the cities. Unfortunately, in the last century, the federal government came to provide a lot of intimate services. This, of course, is profitable for the politicians in both votes and graft, but as mentioned in the quote, it leads to a loss of our political capacity.
When we're saying "the government should intervene," we're saying "an organization with guns should threaten to lock people in cages if they don't comply with its dictates."
I love it when Obama says "But Congress didn't DO anything!"
Did anyone ask "Why should Congress DO something? Just enforce the law."
I'm all for government doing less, as long as that also means they tax me less.
As is, the only way most people can get by after the massive taxation they're subjected to is to turn to that government that taxed them in the first place, begging to please give them some of that money back...
And lower taxes? Ain't gonna happen. Not without a revolution that prunes the halls of bureaucracy by about 95%.
Part of me is sympathetic to the desire to see government do less and tax less. Certainly we'd all be better off that way.
But another part of me -- an ever-growing part at that -- is becoming indifferent to the amount that I'm taxed. So much so that I'd be willing to make a deal (if anyone were empowered to make such a deal, and if I thought it could be made to stick) with the government that I'll pay double the taxes if the government agrees in exchange to just leave me alone.
Take the money, but leave me free -- free to start and run a business; to hire, pay and fire employees; to buy and sell; to own and use whatever property (real or personal) I can afford however I see fit; to eat and drink what I want; to believe as my conscience dictates and to practice said beliefs without interference. In short, free to live as I choose and to enjoy (or suffer) the consequences of my choices.
All the usual disclaimers apply -- I'm not asking for anarchy or even radical libertarianism -- just a bit of personal liberty. I'll agree to be personally responsible for any harm that I cause to any other person (provided it can be proved that I caused it and that it is a real harm and not merely hurt feelings or a matter of opinion). And the government can do whatever it wants with the money it takes from me; it can buy bombers or birth control, it can give it to the destitute, the wealthy or any other cronies. As long as I'm left alone, I promise not to care.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and preparations for Thursday's celebration are ongoing. The WP clan will be gathering at the WP Mom's abode to celebrate, with much of the food preparation taking place here at The Manse or at my...
Tracked: Nov 23, 19:09