The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A review by a skeptic

I am going to violate a rule and speak about politics today. This is because of the State of the Union address last night. I have the need to comment on it. No, let me be honest, I have the urge to comment about it.

Politics has become theater in America. Politicians say things that are designed (through polling and focus group analysis) to please the most people, to get them to think that their wishes and desires are being addressed. The proper term is "vocal pandering", I think. It seems to me a great speech is now one that all (or most) constituents come away thinking things will be better.

The reality is that it is just talk. It means nothing. Last night, the president promised to do all the things that he should have been doing for the last two years. He is being applauded for these promises. He is being lauded for "moving toward the center," for "reaching out to the opposition." The reality may end up being different.

I recall that he promised to veto any bill that had "earmarks" in it. That seemed to impress most in the chamber and the "talking heads" blathering after the speech. Strange, but the first thing that came to my mind is "Why haven't you been doing that all along?" It was a rhetorical question, of course. I think I know the answer. And, if I am right, he will continue not to do it for the next couple of years (though there may be a token veto here or there).

Much has been made, and will continue to be made, on the need for unity in Washington. For working together to reach common goals. It always sounds good. But "the proof of the pudding is in the tasting." Which means I don't think it will happen. I am fairly sure I don't want it to happen. I am afraid of a united government. United governments are terrible things. Governments that are united can do as they please, the people no longer have any chance of control. I want the government to be fractured, to squabble, to truly represent the diversity of the country's politics. I want the government to fear the people. I want politicians to fear being tossed out of office. It is the only real power the people have. You lose it when you choose unity.

When the government is united, the people in Washington no longer represent you, they represent the government. We are a fractured people, we have many different ideas about what this country should do in the face of our financial troubles. Those need to be argued, to be examined, to be sifted through, so that the "bad" (or unworkable) ideas are rejected and the "good" ones are further examined, tested, and refined. In unity, the chances of "bad" ideas being adopted is much stronger.

There was one part of his speech that I liked. It was immediately misinterpreted by the pundits afterward, in my opinion.

The president spoke about a small drilling company that provided the equipment and expertise to help the Chilean miners escape. The President emphasized the smallness of the company and the value of its innovation in drilling methods. He ended that part by repeating what one of the people in that company said.... "We may be a small company... but we do great things." The pundits thought he was speaking of America.

In a sense, he was. But America is not a small country, it is a large one. Its great things come from small companies (as well as large) because it has allowed the individual freedom that fosters great things. In other words, it is the small companies, the individuals, which collectively make us what we are. It is not the General Motors, the General Electrics, the huge corporations that made us great, it was the efforts and dreams of those who started the small companies that became those huge corporations. To repeat that, government must not interfere much in the creation and growth of small companies. Let them compete, let the people decide which ideas are best and which aren't.

Trust the people. Let them lead the government, not the other way around.

For a somewhat different point of view, I suggest you read:

The Anticipation

... over at The View From Outside My Tiny Window.

And I thank you for your time.


Anonymous said...

I was one of the many who didn't watch it. I worked in DC for 25 years. I just can't get impressed enough by these guys to listen to them anymore. The scandals? Sure I eagerly read about them, but the orations?

Steven said...

The SOTU should go back to being a short letter to Congress instead of Presidential Pedestal Hour.

Douglas said...

Zeus, I don't know why I watch. Masochism, I suppose.

Steven, spoken like a true libertarian. That couldn't hurt. But the dynamics of modern politics means it won't happen.

zeusiswatching said...

I was one of the many who didn't watch it. I worked in DC for 25 years. I just can't get impressed enough by these guys to listen to them anymore. The scandals? Sure I eagerly read about them, but the orations?