Government, mon amour! 1

The government of a democracy too easily grows too big.  It needs to be kept within set limits by having its functions defined. Otherwise government can become not just too encroaching on citizens’ lives, but far too powerful. Government should not be a humanitarian institution. If it becomes a provider to the people, it becomes an authority over them.

It should not be a function of central government to house, feed, educate and medically treat the citizens. To believe that it should is to believe that some citizens must be compelled to support others; that money should be taken from these and given to those, the government acting as the redistribution agency with the power of enforcement.

Adult citizens  should support themselves. Yes, there will always be some who are unable to do so because of  severe physical or mental disability. But the number of  such people who also have nobody – no parent, no child, no sibling  – who can or will support them can only  be a small proportion of a population.

Of course nobody, in a humane society can be abandoned to suffer and die because they have no means of support. The few need to be cared for and protected in institutions. And the institutions should be local – the more local the better.  A reasonable portion of local taxes could fund them, and there would be nothing to stop charities from helping to meet the expense, their coffers filled by those who advocate that government should be a humanitarian institution. The person who tells you  that it should be the government’s business to house, feed, teach and cure everybody, wants to be recognized as a good person. He is not offering a workable theory of government in a free society.

To construct an entire economic system, dependent on government enforcement, round the desperate needs of a small proportion of a population, is an idiotic idea and a formula for ruin.

Instead of impoverishing the most productive and successful citizens by over taxing them, governments should safeguard the free market, which is the only means to a nation’s prosperity. And the more prosperous the nation, the better it can look after that small minority needing charitable care.

Well, there’s nothing new in all that. But it needs to be said over and over again (perhaps in increasingly agonized tones) as liberty slips away from us.

But here is a fresh look at government and its uses of power. A new development in democratic politics. The state as provider and controller – but more: the state as Lover. 

Or at least as abusive partner in an intimate relationship. 

It is the brilliant perception of Daniel Greenfield, who describes the relationship at his Sultan Knish website. We quote:

Love is in the air. There are plush teddy bears in the Capitol Hill gift shop and romantic songs playing on Air Force One. Listening tours are planned and every begging email asking for another five, ten or forty bucks to stop the Republican onslaught is addressed personally to you. To you.

Love makes the world go round, or so singers have crooned for the last hundred years. And what other emotion could it be but that which makes the iron wheels of the state turn.

With everything at stake, voters keep picking the candidates they think love them the most. The exit polls keep showing that voters choose unqualified radicals like Barack Obama or Bill de Blasio because they’re “likable”, “share their values” and “care about them.”

Experience came in dead last in the New York election, both literally in Lhota’s case, and in the exit polls, which showed voters ranking experience somewhere between a dead zebra and a mugger on the C train. 34 percent wanted someone who shared their values. 30 percent wanted change. And an unspecified number of right-wing lunatics wanted experience.

Voting is starting to look a lot like dating. A big chunk of the electorate doesn’t just want someone to manage a government. They want someone who will make them feel special, share their values and love them back.

Government is becoming more personal, even as it’s becoming more impersonal. Newly hatched ducks develop an attachment to their wire mothers. Children neglected by their parents fixate on their nannies. And what of a generation of broken families?

What else is there for all the Julias to do but turn to the man whom Indian chiefs used to call the Great White Father in Washington. And what is there for all the Chads to do but look for love from the bureaucratic wire mother of the Nanny State?0

The great ambition of the social reformers was to replace the unscientific and selfish family with the progressive programs of the state. And their dream has been realized.

Within a few generations of government growth, a nation once noted for its strong nuclear family has replaced it with a cradle-to-grave state that abstractly pats all the Julias and Chads on the head, telling them they can be anything they want and then sending them the bill for its services.

Is it any wonder that Chad and Julia just want a government that loves them and are a bit fuzzy about the differences between a politician, their father and their significant other?

Past generations wanted to be inspired by leaders, but the definitions of inspiration and leadership have changed. In the past it meant urging others to rise to new challenges. Today it means making Chad and Julia feel good about themselves by telling them that they have great potential so that they feel like someone out there understands and cares about them without having to actually do anything. …

The National Debt is bigger than ever and politicians have gotten better than ever at reassuring the people that they care about the national debt, they feel the national debt’s pain, share its values and want it to grow up to be the best national debt that it can be in a country where every national debt has equal opportunities to achieve regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or national bankruptcy.

Conservatives struggling to convince the rest of the country that Obama is the worst thing since sliced bread that had been left out for three years in the sun face the same problem as anyone trying to convince a friend that the charming sociopath that they’re dating is bad for them. They can assemble an artillery of facts, hurling them one by one, waiting for the BOOM, but only hearing faint thumps, and then resort to frustrated outrages of common sense only to get nowhere.0

After all that, all it takes is a single “I care about you, share your values and promise never to take away your health plan again… period” teleprompter call to convince them that it truly is true love.

And even if the voters who only want to care about a politician who cares about them first eventually realize that they’ve been had, that while Obama was pretending to care about their anger at Wall Street, he was also pretending to care at least as much about the concerns of Wall Street executives, and so on for every one of their values, they’ll just wait for the next charmer to come along.

Those who have been deprived of love will go on looking for it in all the wrong government places. And the Julias and Chads who associate government with love will press every politicians to tell them how the National Debt makes them feel and show them that they really truly care about them. That process will helpfully winnow most decent and competent leaders leaving behind sociopaths, car salesmen, community organizers, con men and anyone who can fake a relationship on a dime.

Emotion is more malleable than reason. And a relationship calls forth the most self-rationalizing emotional states that can exist in the human mind. …

There is no question that most of us are in a relationship with government. It’s a non-consensual relationship and an abusive one, but those are the kind most likely to lead to a bout of Stockholm Syndrome. Hostages fall in love with their hostage-takers, captives fall in love with their captors and Democratic voters fall in love with their elected officials.

With the traditional family in bad shape, romanticizing the even more dysfunctional relationship with the state transforms an abusive relationship into a caring one. …

A sizable portion of the country doesn’t just want someone good or someone who has the right ideas, they want someone to love them, to care about them and to make their relationship with government feel meaningful so that they can believe that it is love, rather than dirty money, favor-trading, vote-swapping, fanatical devotion to 19th century ideologies and humanitarianism that makes the fax machines, the hard drive platters, cars and cabinet meetings of government go round and round.

  • liz

    Thanks for re-stating very succinctly what we do very much need to keep re-iterating about the liberty we see dissolving before our eyes. If only there were enough people left to learn from it. But we have reached the day the founders feared when the people would vote themselves back into slavery.