the problems of our times
It was Nov 15th, 2009 that I started a blog — only originally it was too be called “incorrigibly contumacious” — except, well, most people can’t spell the words, and don’t know what they mean – -so before I got to the second post I changed it to The Daily Mush —
here’s what I wrote back then on Incorr-contum — (it is a long set of words, yes?)
I know a lot of people who are completely confused about what is going on with politics, the economy, foreign affairs and the country and the world today. And it is bewildering. I agree with that. All the people I know are busy with their lives and their jobs, their leisure time and their interaction with the government. But I spend a lot of time thinking about it. That’s my mission in life. To try to figure it out, and explain it to other people. One thing I’ve discovered about my friend’s lives is their unhappiness with their interaction with the government. Their deep unhappiness. Their confusion. Their sense of being flummoxed. Their disdain for the events of our day.
Every other part of their lives runs as smoothly as luck would have it, and then they deal with the government. It makes no difference with any fashion of their interaction with the behemoth of government: they are miffed. But, my friends have no more answers. Nor do they have questions. What they have is a resignation to the inevitable. And they don’t even know what that is. They do not know what seems inevitable but they don’t like it. Yet, they feel powerless to affect anything. The sullen unhappiness is palpable. Not a one of them does not feel it. Yet, they are unable to articulate what is happening and where it will lead. Yet they are all intelligent, rational and reasonable people with good hearts and minds. They are decent to their core. They are reasonable in all aspects in their lives. Then they encounter government. Then it is like they are on the Titanic about an hour after it hit the iceberg. They know the ship is going down, and they are clueless about what to do about it or why it happened.
So why? Why are so many people unhappy? And why are so many people filled with compassion and care, concern and ideas, and yet feel so helpless in the onslaught of government? They all know that something is wrong with the nation. Though they cannot put their hands on it, they can put their finger on individual problems, and say “see, there, a problem.” FEMA? A disaster. Security at the airport? Laughable, but inevitable. The tax code? Incomprehensible but that’s the way it is. On and on come these sentiments. Expressed differently somewhat, but in essence, something is dreadfully wrong. While they have no concrete solutions they know that something has to be done. What is to be done everyone I know seems to have not the foggiest idea. What every one of them falls back on is “well, I hope we find the right people.” Or some variant.
“I want to give the president a chance.”
“I have hope that Congress will get it right.”
“There are a lot of good people out there, and we need to help the least among us.”
“We have to worry about big business screwing us.”
“I hate going to the motor vehicle department.”
“I can’t believe I can’t get through to anyone at that company.”
“I’m tired of the politics.”
“I’m tired of the partisanship.”
“I’m tired of the corruption.”
“We pay too much in taxes.”
And the most insidious: “Well, that’s the way it is.”
On and on the list of complaints about the way things are come. I accept them all. I agree. I want to say to each and every one of the people with whom I’ve had these conversations — you are right. Right in the sense that something is wrong. Right in the sense that we do need the right people. Right in the sense that the people in government now are not the best we have among us. And yet, my friends are wrong about the cause of the problems, the nature of the problems, or even if there is a problem with what they worry about, and they are either wrong about the solution or have none except hope and change. Hope that it’ll turn out OK. Hope that it won’t get worse. But hope is not a solution. Lack of hope is not a cause. What is the reality is that there is something wrong with the nation.
But what we do know is that as the problems get worse the so-called solutions of more government is the only option presented. What will the government do about it? What is the president proposing? These are among the most frequently asked questions in America today. And you know what the government will do about it? It will make it worse. In the entire history of the world, in every corner of the globe, in every culture, in every language and dialect, in every land and nation, and among every ethnic group and among the followers of every religion, in each small crevice of life one thing remains true: More government is low down on the list of possible solutions. Yet people say, “we need the government to do something.” Why? Merely because it is the prevailing wisdom of today, just as it was 1000 years ago when some king was on his throne anywhere on the planet.
Does this mean “no government”? No. Not at all. I cannot be more clear on this. Small government, limited government, weak government is good. It is necessary to our survival as humankind. We are cooperative creatures, for the most part. And the government is our tool to help us get over the rough spots of noncooperation. But big government is bad. Very bad. Big government stops cooperation and leads to fighting. Either internally or internationally, the bigger the government the more fighting within the society. By now it should be so obvious. Still, the connection is not made by many. Still, the oddest thing is that whenever a small and local government person says that the current Federal Behemoth needs to be slaughtered than the response is “what, are you going to do with no government?”
No, no one proposes no government except a few anarchists and a few communists, who have pure theory on their minds, and not the practical reality of the world around them. But local government, limited government, appropriate government — these are good. Having the federal government run everything is the worst possible outcome, as it has been since any government ever sought total control over the lives of their citizens. Do I think that the liberals and democrats and big government folks are evil? No, not really. I believe they are deluded. Do I think they are ready to kill people? No, not really, it is just their policies cause misery because they are bereft of logic, math and historical reality. Am I conservative? No, not really, for Liberty for All is not really a conservative position. Am I liberal? No, for government is not the answer. So what am I? Well, practical is the word I would use. Practical solutions are those that have the greatest impact for solving problems, and big government either maintains problems or exacerbates problems. But big government never solved a problem. Ever. No one can point to such an outcome. No one.
And so this space will look at our world today and offer contrarian thoughts. it will be incorrigible in the defense of liberty. Is any vice OK in liberty’s defense? No. But incorrigible adherence to liberty for all is a social good.
Contumacious? A rare word perhaps, but one meaning “stubbornly rebellious.” Yes, rebellious. For if we who think do not show the problems that are coming to those who are too busy with their lives then we are derelict in our duty to stop the onslaught of big government. For those who are busy with their lives will soon feel the effects of bigger government, and they will be more unhappy.
I don’t care what you call that bigness. It is the bigness I’m opposed to.
And that’s what this space is devoted to — the dismantling of the bigness of government. So starting today I want to use this space to make people think about what the real problems are and what the real causes are. And what the real solutions may be. And in that is the implicit dare to anyone to show me how more big government ever solved a problem — and I’ll show them how they are wrong. A tall order perhaps, but someone has got to do it.
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