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The New Obama Concoction: Fairness and Protection

The New Obama Concoction: Fairness and Protection

How is it possible to resist the charms of any elected official offering the dual benefits of fairness and protection? After all, is not being treated equitably, while simultaneously being spared the pain of those who would seek to harm us, not of ultimate worth? Fairness must certainly be the quintessential American value, right? And our entire system of justice; is it not specifically designed to bring both fairness and protection?

Over the next year and a half we will hear the word fairness as if the word encapsulates the complete and final animation of the American ideal. We will also be offered a basket overflowing with governmental “protections” from rapacious bogeymen, both known and unknown. This little “benefits package” will come neatly wrapped in the form of a vague threat that would have us believe any alternative to this package would immediately result in enslavement. It is only demons that would offer us, the American people, anything less.

The real wonder in all of this is how Thomas Jefferson seemed to have completely missed the significance of the beatific vision of the liberal left. To have settled for such suboptimal and simple notions as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must clearly validate the marked progression in our political thinking. Alas, we are talking about a couple of centuries of human achievement. If we can build an iPad, we must certainly be able to build a perfectly integrated, transparent, and high-functioning system of governance. We call this “political science,” as if it was somehow scientific.

Hope and change was the first chapter. Fairness and protection are now emerging as the second chapter. The only remaining question we now have is in determining which of these sets of notions is the most utterly naïve. There is, however, no remaining question as to which is more dangerous. Chapter Two is an unmitigated societal, moral and economic horror show.

Like hope and change, fairness and protection are proffered without definition or object. One man’s version of fairness is another man’s version of purgatory. To suggest that protections are being afforded is to beg the obvious question, “Protection from what or from whom?” The suggestion, of course, is that the government will become both the ultimate dispenser of fairness, and the protector from anything that is “not-government.” This is a binary universe in which the government is the center of virtue, and everything and everyone else is either mundane or oppressive.

In a hypothetical world where half the citizenry are drunken bums and the other half are productive and hard-working citizens, what represents a fair tax rate? Apparently, there is a fair answer to this question, albeit that the obvious answer seems to elude most of us common people. Not to fear, in the liberal mind, they have the answer. And if regulation doubles the price of that which we seek to consume, we must presume that the level of “protection” is worth paying for.  Just ask them. They not only have all the answers, they are willing to impose them on everyone else.

They spin a web of myths. It is only unfortunate that these myths are so seemingly beguiling.

When Mr. Jefferson offered his modest notions of a sustainable basis for societal success, he understood that the government can only create a set of conditions where people can optimize their unique futures. He had seen the fairness and protection “themes” played out in history and seen the implications of the associated governmental arrogance. Mr. Jefferson was willing to look at humanity in a more positive light than many of his contemporaries. Even he could not begin to fathom the negative implications of what is now being offered as the standard offering of the Liberal Left.

When the markets create a willing buyer, and a willing seller, at a given price, most of us would agree that the “trade” was fair. On the other side of the equation, when the government intervenes in anything, it is not fairness and protection that we receive. It is rather just someone’s version of coercion. The liberal definition of fairness is just another form of arbitrary and completely baseless enslavement. It cannot be heard in any other way.

Fairness is only found in established conditions. It is never found in a quest for derived outcomes. When liberals transmute the definition of fairness into an effect, as opposed to its native state as a cause, they turn the world inside out. Viewing fairness as an effect is, by definition, fundamentally unfair. And the result is always predictable, and never pretty.

The New Obama Concoction: Fairness and Protection

The Lost Art of Governing

The world of modern American politics has often been described as “Hollywood for the ugly.” While this may or may not be true, politicians are indeed asking us to do what film directors do when we attend the movies—suspend disbelief. Removing reality and practicality certainly facilitates a good story and makes for fantastic special effects, but when these principles are used in running a government the results are, predictably, disastrous.

Though you wouldn’t think you would have to inform our elected officials of such things, the sad truth is that every non-creative discipline is subject to cumbersome, but necessary confines. In other words—reality.

This is true not only in the fields of engineering, architecture, aviation, music, and chemistry, but also in governing. The skill in any of these endeavors lies in achieving a desired result within the confines of a given discipline, and skill is precisely what is lacking in the vast majority of our Legislators. If you are an engineer or an architect you are constrained in your designs by pesky things such as physics, load bearing, and torque. In aviation you are constrained by Newton’s laws of motion and gravity. Musicians are largely required to write and play inside a given key. These are the reasons that you don’t simply draw your dream house on a sheet of paper and give it to a builder to begin construction; or why anyone can’t just pick up an instrument, randomly play a bunch of notes, and have it sound good.

In governing the main confines that an American politician must adhere to are the Constitution and the budget. The mess that our Country finds itself in currently can largely be attributed to a lack of discipline in complying with these two constraints. That is not to say that the last three decades of our elected officials have not been skilled at anything, just that they have shown prowess in the areas that benefit themselves and not our Nation. They have by and large focused on, and have mastered, the art of getting elected and re-elected. They have succeeded in the craft of politics, a far different and easier thing than governing.

What we are in dire need of at this moment is a renaissance in the art of governing. This entails providing the most results with the resources you have on hand. Fiscally speaking the concept is as simple as taking projected revenues for a fiscal year and working backwards from that number to zero. This is not to say that the process is not complex, but that the complexities and hard work lay in the prioritizing. Fighting these battles needs to be the “serve us” part of the public service that our legislators are supposedly providing us. The fact is that when they appropriate without the boundaries of a budget they are shirking off all the hard work and bitter infighting. In turn they are doing us all a public “disservice.”

A look back at the make-ups of the last three Congresses provides some insight into why, particularly fiscally, they have failed so miserably. The 109th Congress was sworn in 2005, the 110th in 2007, and the 111th in 2009. The members whose previous occupation was listed as “Accountant” numbered five in the 109th and bumped up to six for both the 110th and 111th sessions. This means that of the bodies 535 members an equal number (six) listed their prior job as “Peace Corp. volunteer” as those who did “Accountant.” Perhaps a more relevant and disturbing development is that the 109th Congress, for the first time in history, had a greater number of members list “public service/politics” as their prior profession than list business (195 to 193). This trend continued in both the 110th and 111th Congresses, with the 111th being the first in history to have “public service/politics” as their most listed prior occupation, beating out both business and law.

Having such a large number of leaders with their formative experience being politics is clearly unhealthy and you need not be a sage to predict the outcome. Reaffirming that any child can color outside the lines, it is hardly surprising that since the 109th Congress was sworn in in 2005 the National Debt has grown from $7.95 trillion to the $14.1 figure it stands at today. What this shows is that while the average years served by our Legislators is on the rise, along with an ever increasing amount of political experience had even prior to taking office, their fiscal performance worsens.

Though discouraging, as long as our body politic is composed of and replenished with those schooled and skilled primarily in politics we will continue to see destructive results. There is a skill to good governance. Like any other discipline the skill resides in achieving results within confines, in this case the Constitution and the budget. When we are able to elect leaders with this skill we will have elected prioritizers instead of mere appropriators. Until then we will remain victims of the lost art of Governing.

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