Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Weekly Radley: "Let's Get Small"

I've long thought that if election results really matter to you, then your government is too big.  Elections should matter about as much as choosing a new lawn service. 

Here's Radley Balko with an explanation: the spirit of bipartisanship I’ll go ahead and endorse Alvin Greene in addition to Paladino and O’Donnell. Politics is a ridiculous profession populated by ridiculous people. Maybe if we elect increasingly clownish candidates, the public will eventually come to realize this, and finally realize that it’s probably not a good idea to put larger and larger portions of our lives and livelihoods in the hands of people who have achieved success in a field that rewards character traits you spend your entire tenure as a parent trying to teach out of your kids.

I’m kidding about endorsing Greene, O’Donnell, and Paladino, but only because their election would give them actual power. But I see no particular reason to root for their opponents, either. And I see no reason to instinctively cheer for Republicans over Democrats. Or vice versa. At least electing transparently crazy people will make us more cautious about how they use their power. Alvin Greene that much sillier than Nancy Pelosi, Trent Lott, or any other Pork Merchant? 

Me, I’m cheering for elections to matter less, and for politicians to have less impact on my life. I dream of waking up to find the results of the November 2 election on page A-10 of my November 3rd newspaper—because no one cared, because very little was at stake, because we stopped pinning our hopes and dreams on the results of a perverse process dominated by generally horrible people who have made a career of accumulating power for the sake of accumulating power.

Incidentally, this is also how you “get money out of politics.” You make politics and political outcomes less important. I’m amused by people who are surprised that as the power, scope, and influence of government grows, interest groups are correspondingly willing to spend increasingly more money to purchase a piece of that influence. I actually once heard a prominent lefty journalist express this very sentiment. They’re shocked by this!

Yes, without exception.  Shocked, I say!  Shocked ! 

It’s even cuter that they think they can continue to expand the size, scope, and influence government and prevent the government from being corrupted . . . by giving the same government yet more power, in this case to prevent itself from being corrupted. Inevitably, these new powers then manifest as new restrictions on our ability and freedom to criticize politicians. Because that’s their solution to the corruption of our politicians: Less criticism of politicians!

You cannot decrease government corruption, bribery, earmarking, pork-barreling, featherbedding, and favoritism by writing more laws.  The purpose of those laws is to sell exemptions to those laws. 
The only way to decrease the size and scope of the problem is to make the government smaller.  Much, much smaller.  Small enough to drown in the bathtub. 

Go here to listen to Steve Martin's "Let's Get Small". 


Nick Rowe said...

Very good point.

We need to get rid of public sector unions. They will otherwise always hold power over local government.

Your Rangers came through. Maybe there is a God after all.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

"We need to get rid of public sector unions."

I agree with Nick's statement but would make the following changes: insert the definite article "the" before the word "public" and delete the word "unions".

Dr Ralph said...

Small is all well and good but nature abhors a vacuum. Get rid of big government completely (I'm not as much a fan as you think) and what rushes in to fill that void?

Because *something* will, and I don't think it's going to be any better for the average person - and I place myself in that class of citizen.

Does big government suck? Absolutely.

Does it suck more than completely unfettered Big Business and/or Big Multinationals?