The Sweetness of Doing Nothing
posted at 2:39 pm on March 16, 2010 by J.E. Dyer
Have you had enough yet? Enough of activist government that, in Michelle Obama’s deathless words,
…will require you to work. [Is] going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. [That] will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed…
… ?? Had enough? Hmmm?
In the same week that the Democratic Congress is blatantly plotting to force through – on a parliamentary maneuver – epically unpopular legislation that would transform America irreversibly for the worse, what’s arriving in our mailboxes? The Barack Obama Cynicism-Shedding, Division-Putting-Down, Isolation-Coming-Out-Of, Comfort-Zone-Departing, Full-Frontal-Engagement 2010 United States Census. This is the Census in which we spill our guts to the federal government. Almost literally: we might as well have a full-body scan of our lives and FedEx it off to Uncle Sam.
I don’t know about you, but I feel extra-specially abused by the federal government this week. The most intrusive Census questionnaire of my life so far (what is it they’re going to do with this information?) arrives just when Democrats in Congress are unapologetically planning to fix it so they can jerk me around by controlling a much larger percentage of my own earnings for the rest of my life. Which could well be shorter than it would otherwise, what with the Democrats’ plan to “cut costs” by spending less on medical care for the old.
This, folks, is what it looks like when government is doing too much. Government is too big. Some of us have been pointing this out for decades, but I think more and more of the Americans who don’t pay much attention, as long as their lives don’t have to change too much, are now waking up and realizing that government has gotten big enough to actually fulfill Michelle Obama’s promise: to actually change our lives.
The truth is, Americans don’t want government to change our lives. Government that does less is what more and more people are realizing we need. We don’t want government that’s big enough to force us to buy health insurance – or to make lesser and cheaper medical treatments the “norm” in order to save “society’s” resources. We don’t want government that thinks it has some reason to care how many rooms there are in our homes, and how they are heated and cooled. We don’t want government that’s big enough to force talk radio, TV, or internet content into a state-approved homeostasis between “left” and “right.” We don’t want government that can kill our jobs by making it too expensive to employ us. We certainly don’t want government that employs members of a thuggish service employees’ union and caters to their demands – demands that can only be satisfied by confiscating more and more from the private sector’s producers: those to whom the same union employees display a surly and unhelpful demeanor when the taxpayers have the misfortune to need to do business with the government.
The ugly face of big government is plastered across every facet and every communication medium of modern life, here in 2010. What we need to realize is that it isn’t possible to have big government that looks and acts any other way. This is it: this is what activist government – government that won’t let us go back to our lives as usual – looks like. The time has come for government to stop “fixing” things.
There is nothing that would be as salubrious between now and January 2013 as a big Timeout. Government at an unbreakable standoff – a Republican Congress, a lame-duck Obama in the White House – is just about the best thing that could happen to us. I would prefer to see Congress gut what it can of the Obama agenda enacted so far (we’ll find out soon if that includes nationalized health care), by hitting the executive agencies right in the budget. But I’d settle for just not making it worse, until we can get a new president into the Oval Office.
Just STOP. Stop with the tinkering, the regulating, the spending, the constituency-tending. Stop with the legislation so intricate, comprehensive, and intrusive that it’s necessary to prohibit over here what was implied or made inevitable over there – or vice versa. Stop with adding to the debt. Stop with making dozens of changes to the tax code every single year! Stop with haranguing the people about problems that aren’t at the top of their list – that aren’t even necessarily problems, much less problems government ought to somehow address – in order to justify bigger and bigger government.
We’re at the impasse now, and there’s no more wiggle room, no more room to compromise. We can’t sell any more of our lives to nanny-state activists for a little peace. They never leave us in peace, you know. The more we sell them, the more they want. We can’t afford to cede any more of our lives to their “supervision.” This is the precipice, right here. This is the place where if we take one more step in the same direction, we can never go back to our lives as usual.
The future will be there, absent the Apocalypse, for us to seek a government that can “get things done” – that is, roll back bad regulation, reduce taxes, put itself on a radical weight-loss program. We need to do this, but I won’t feel betrayed or discouraged if it doesn’t start right away. Government not constantly changing the rules would be the biggest blessing at this point. The time will be there to apply energy to government again, if we can rein Obama in on his career of slingshotting us over the cliff. For now, this taxpayer’s instructions to government are:
Sit down, shut up, and STOP.
Cross-posted at The Optimistic Conservative.
Recently in the Green Room: