When Less is More (May 26, 2010)

Change is good. Change is natural.  Change is necessary.

If you believe in evolution, the physical and intellectual development of man is the result of steady, persistent change and adaptation. If you are a Christian, your world view is shaped by the belief that people can change through the regenerative salvation offered by the death of Jesus. If you are stopped at toll booth with a wallet full of singles, you, too, know that change is a must.

Our country was born of a desire and need for change. Our Constitution was almost immediately changed with the introduction by James Madison of the Bill of Rights during the very first congress in 1789.  Ironically, the Bill of Rights purposed to set limits on what the federal government can and cannot do in regard to personal liberties.  Our initial instinct as a nation was to limit what the government can do thus freeing the people to do more. “Yet, Here we are, darling,” as Edna Mode noted in The Incredibles.

Candidate Obama promised change but making good on the changes he favors requires something other than change; in fact what it requires is expansion of the status quo—more federal government, more spending, more misunderstanding of the peoples’ desires.  The fallacy of federal policy, though, is wrongly set only on the front steps of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  The Instruments of Inertia currently taking up space in the Capitol, regardless of Party, are equally guilty of the toddler’s lament: “More, more, more,” said the baby.

With our federal government, as well as most state governments, struggling to make ends meet, it is time to rethink approaches to fiscal policy, the delivery of government services, and the blurred line between want and need.  Michigan’s Governor, Jennifer Granholm, has noted that “People have come to expect that government was going to be a certain way and we’ve had to press the reset button on our economy and our government.”  Regardless of what she and the Mitten’s elected representative implement, the retreat of government should be a welcome occurrence worthy of 49 plagiarists, nay 50 as we include the Federal Cancer.

Our government—genius as it is—had one undergirding assumption, long since vanquished to the ashbin of quaint erudition:  an involved citizenry.  Save the Electoral College—a monument to the founder’s fear of exactly the kind of political buffoonery running amok in polling stations today—the founders assumed that Americans would always be as passionate about participation as our pilgrim paternity.

Today, though, a small group of citizens tired of being ignored has birthed the Tea Party dalliance. The real shame of the effort has been the decided lack of specificity and blatant willingness to sacrifice that could have been so effective if shouted through the bullhorns vice angry slanders of ineptitude.  Where is the expressed willingness to see that which benefits us individually returned to the state for the good of citizens at large?   “You’re an idiot! Do things differently,” is almost certainly going to be less effective than, “I’ve asked for too much in past and you’ve given it to me. I don’t want it anymore, please stop.” The hypocrisy in the cry for smaller government undermines any strategy to see it sired.

This is a great time to ask for less as we are already learning to shackle our desires in the midst of the prolonged economic down turn.  The fiscal crisis facing the feds and the states is an opportunity to shrink budgets, services and entitlements and we (The People) ought to not only allow it, but encourage it.  In the American tradition of the ancients we ought to insist on tight quarters for legislative spendthrifts and fill the void with our own delayed gratification and increased sense of charity.

We have the ability to make government’s job really easy—by asking for less and doing more.

Published in: on May 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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