Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
– Barack Obama
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
- Autobiography of Mark Twain
Human beings are warming the earth and something must be done.
Why? Because I heard it on TV.
There are people who take seriously such statements as those by President Barack Obama that Republicans want to “end Medicare as we know it.”
Let’s stop and think, if only for the novelty of it. If you make any change in anything, you are ending it “as we know it.” Does that mean that everything in the status quo should be considered to be set in concrete forever?
If there were not a single Republican, or none who got elected to any office, arithmetic would still end “Medicare as we know it,” for the simple reason that the money in the till is not enough to keep paying for it.
“…I think the vice president of the United States has become a laugh line on late night television. I mean, he — I’ve never seen a vice president that has made as many mistakes, said as many stupid things.
I mean, there’s a real fear if, God forbid, he ever had to be entrusted with the presidency, whether he really has the mental capacity to handle it. I mean, this guy just isn’t bright. He’s never been bright. He isn’t bright. And people think, ‘Well, he just talks a little too much.’ Actually he’s just not very smart.”
– Rudy Giuliani
Then there’s this from Iowahawk:
“Joe Biden reminds of a simpler America, when a kid could go to the local drug store and buy cough syrup and model glue and leaded paint.”
“…self-absorption is part of the occupational hazard of politics, and it’s also part of the job description of being president. All that said, try to imagine Dwight Eisenhower talking about D-Day saying, ‘I did this. I decided this. I did this and then I did that.’ It’s inconceivable.
If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually.”
– George Will
In politics, few talents are as richly rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims. Welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic have discovered that largesse to losers does not reduce their hostility to society, but only increases it. Far from producing gratitude, generosity is seen as an admission of guilt, and the reparations as inadequate compensations for injustices — leading to worsening behavior by the recipients.
“In much the same way that neoconservatives accepted a realistic and limited role for the government, Obama tolerates a limited and realistic role for the market: its wealth is necessary for the continuation and expansion of the welfare state and social justice. While neoconservatism erred on the side of trusting the nongovernmental sphere — mediating institutions like markets, civil society, and the family — neosocialism gives the benefit of the doubt to government.”
“It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep…but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
“I say if a Christmas crèche can’t exist on public property, there’s no legitimate excuse for letting a thousand unwashed goons set up their tents and turn the city sidewalks into their personal latrine.”
– Burt Prelutsky, from his column coming this Saturday
French economist Frederic Bastiat in “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen,” 1850:
I lose patience, I confess, when I hear this economic blunder advanced in support of . . . a project. “Besides, it will be a means of creating labor for the workmen.”
The State opens a road, builds a palace, straightens a street, cuts a canal; and so gives work to certain workmen—this is what is seen: But it deprives certain other workmen of work, and this is what is not seen.
The road is begun. A thousand workmen come every morning, leave every evening, and take their wages—this is certain. If the road had not been decreed, if the supplies had not been voted, these good people would have had neither work nor salary there; this also is certain.
But is this all? Does not the operation, as a whole, contain something else? At the moment when M. Dupin pronounces the emphatic words, “The Assembly has adopted,” do the millions descend miraculously on a moon-beam into the coffers of MM. Fould and Bineau? In order that the evolution may be complete, as it is said, must not the State organize the receipts as well as the expenditure? Must it not set its tax-gatherers and tax-payers to work, the former to gather, and the latter to pay? . . .
The sophism which this work is intended to refute is the more dangerous when applied to public works, inasmuch as it serves to justify the most wanton enterprises and extravagance. When a railroad or a bridge are of real utility, it is sufficient to mention this utility.
“In an egalitarian world, everyone is equal, except perhaps the managers of equality.
And certainly in the foreseeable future, there will be endless and not unprofitable work for those whose business it is to spell out in ever greater detail the rules of the game of life, and to adjudicate conflict, and to teach the benighted what thoughts a just society requires.
Politics will have died, but everything will be politics.”
“The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people.
But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.”
–Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit
More on this idea, here.
“All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public-personnel management. The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Certain business leaders may consider “big government” or socialism more of an immediate threat to their interests than communism. Are they allowing themselves to be deluded by their own propaganda to the effect that organized labor in this country is in favor of big government or the nationalization of industry?
Nothing could be further from the truth. The main function of American trade unions is collective bargaining. It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government. Unions, as well as employers, would vastly prefer to have even Government regulation of labor-management relations reduced to a minimum consistent with the protection of the public welfare.”
– George Meany, leader of the AFL-CIO for 25 years
“We have to do more, because here’s what I have to say and I hate to have to have to say this about my own government. But I believe what we are seeing with regard to New Orleans and the surrounding area is a policy frankly of ethnic cleansing by inaction.”–Barney Frank February 10, 2006
The libs are still yacking about the unwashed masses who think Obama is Muslim — a convenient way to paint opposition to Obama as ignorant.
Few recall the leftwing masses who believed that 9/11 was an inside job, that Bush conspired with the Saudis, that it was all about an oil pipeline they wanted to build through Afghanistan, etc.
Except it wasn’t just a few ignorant cranks. Howard Dean, then a leader in the Democrat party and serious candidate for president said this:
“I don’t know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can’t—think it can’t be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis.
Now, who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is that by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and then eventually they get repeated as fact.
So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear, the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission.”
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”
This is an embarrassment to the nation.
Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) to Elena Kagan:
“So tell us how you’re going to help the American people. Should you be confirmed, how are you going to make a difference in their lives?”
And if you were going to be a twee, what kind of twee would you be?
Thankfully, Kagan answered that she would adjudicate cases.
From a comment at Belmont Club, via ChicagoBoyz.
…There is also the problem of the elite’s lack of humility. I’m a pretty smart guy, and I think I could do a decent job of re-ordering the world if given absolute power.
But … It wouldn’t be right. It is not up to me to tell my fellow humans how to live. I think bowling, for instance, is stupid, though many people enjoy it. What/who gives me the right to tell bowlers that they should be going to the symphony instead?
But nobody is forcing me to go bowling and nobody is using my tax dollars to subsidize bowling, so I don’t care. Not my business, and not a problem. This is the essence of liberty.
For a thought experiment, substitute guns, french fries, or abortion for bowling above and see how you feel. The realization that you do not have the Moral Authority to try to construct a perfect world that eliminates what you dislike is the essence of humility. Many very bright people lack humility.
Obama is exhibit A.
“Those same folks who were hollering about it before we passed it, they’re still hollering about how the world will end because we passed this bill. This is not an exaggeration.”
Barack Obama, literalist in chief.
A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.”
Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the ommittee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”
Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN’s election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.
During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office.
Ms. Moncrief told Ms. Heidelbaugh the campaign had asked her and her boss to “reach out to the maxed-out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN.”
Ms. Heidelbaugh then told the congressional panel:
“Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, “it was a game changer.”’
Ms. Moncrief made her first overture to Ms. Heidelbaugh after The New York Times allegedly spiked the story — on Oct. 21, 2008. Last fall, she testified under oath about what she had learned about ACORN from her years in its Washington, D.C. office. Although she was present at the congressional hearing, she did not testify.
U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., the ranking Republican on the committee, said the interactions between the Obama campaign and ACORN, as described by Ms. Moncrief, and attested to before the committee by Ms. Heidelbaugh, could possibly violate federal election law, and “ACORN has a pattern of getting in trouble for violating federal election laws.”
He also voiced criticism of The New York Times.
“If true, The New York Times is showing once again that it is a not an impartial observer of the political scene,” he said. “If they want to be a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, they should put Barack Obama approves of this in their newspaper.”
Tom Purcell’s column is a goldmine of quotes:
The Democrats will be running the White House, the House and the Senate soon. Before they make drastic changes, they may want to consider some interesting quotations on government.
My favorites reveal a general wariness of government — a key principle upon which our republic was founded:
“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take everything you have.”
– Barry Goldwater
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country — against his government.”
– Edward Abbey
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”
– Edmund Burke
Well, Eddie, you got that right. We just handed our government a blank check worth billions to bail out our financial institutions. And before we let Barack Obama “make government cool again,” we may want to consider this:
“The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.”
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan
“Government is inherently incompetent, and no matter what task it is assigned, it will do it in the most expensive and inefficient way possible.”
– Charley Reese
“Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.”
– Leo Tolstoy
Sorry, Leo, but folks often forget how nasty government can be. Right now, folks are clamoring for our government to do something, anything, to fix our economic woes — forgetting, of course, that our government is a key contributor to those woes. Here is where government is really effective:
“The government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, then hand you a crutch and say, ‘See, if it weren’t for the government you wouldn’t be able to walk.’”
– Harry Browne
“Government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
– Ronald Reagan
“Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.”
– Ludwig von Mises
We citizens must be more skeptical about well-meaning politicians. We must look past their flowery words to understand what they really may be up to:
“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
– H.L. Mencken
“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.”
– Thomas Reed
“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Excellent quote, Georgie. You described the 2008 elections more accurately than 99 percent of America’s journalists — and you’ve been dead since 1950.
Look, it’s long been time that America gets back to the basics. American citizens must stand up and demand a return to the principles of SMALL government:
“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
– Patrick Henry
“Our best protection against bigger government in Washington is better government in the states.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Unfortunately, Dwight, we abandoned that concept some time ago. Unless Americans wake up and remember the origin of our greatness — it’s the people, not the government — we are poised for the government to expand more, and take more and control us more.
Humorists understand the ramifications better than anyone:
“The primary function of the government is — and here I am quoting directly from the U.S. Constitution — ‘to spew out paper.’”
– Dave Barry
“The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”
– Will Rogers
“Did you ever notice that when you put the words ‘the’ and ‘IRS’ together, it spells ‘THEIRS?’”
“Once the thing gets going we shan’t have to bother about the great heart of the British public. We’ll make the great heart what we want it to be. But in the meantime, it does make a difference how things are put. … Odd thing it is — the word “experiment” is unpopular, but not the word “experimental.” You mustn’t “experiment” on children; but offer the dear little kiddies free education in an experimental school attached to the N.I.C.E. and it’s all correct!”
– C.S. Lewis