Day by Day

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The biggest threat to freedom on the planet

No, not Iran. Not North Korea or China or even Russia.

I'll give you a hint: it's more of an idea, but embodied in lots of different ways, all of them fatal to freedom in any of its forms.

Give up?

Full-time Legislatures. Yup. Just that simple.

Think I'm kidding? Look, it's basic human nature. Give a man a job and he will think he is required to produce something in order to justify his salary (and inevitable demands for a wage increase down the road). Now in the Legislature's case here in the United States, that shouldn't ordinarily present a problem, since they aren't sent there to legislate, but to represent the interests of the "folks back home". Some poor sap would get damned near drafted by his fellow citizens because they knew "he were an honest fella'" and would (presumably) represent the interests of the people who had sent him. They were, after all, his neighbors, and he would have to live among them again after a few years.

The townsfolk would send him some money every now and then so he could live so far from home, and to make up for the lost income from his business, whether that was his farm, smithy, store or practice, and when he wanted to come home, the townsfolk would pick someone else.

But because Men are not Saints, some laws restricting bad behavior needed to be passed, and fine details of what was to be legal and what was not took up a lot of time, so these draftees, there to represent the interests of the folks back home needed a secretary to handle all the correspondence, and that means an office, which means other people, and pretty soon, you have a fairly healthy cadre of folks whose only purpose in collecting a paycheck is to make sure the boss sees them working as hard as possible, and making his life as easy as possible, and that means to buffer The Boss from the average Joe and his workaday problems.

And that makes life in the big city suddenly a lot more pleasant than life down on the farm, and since you are State employees (well, not really, you are actually employees of the folks back home - remember them? - but you're drinking buddies with the guy who writes the Official Dictionary, and suddenly you are!), which means you get to decide your own salaries, and it all comes out of the taxes anyway, and why shouldn't you be entitled to a few freebies, as long as you don't overdo, right?

But then bad times come and people start looking at why they have to spend so much on the government, and you have to look busy, since The REAL "Boss" is paying attention, and so, with great fanfare, you and a few of your buddies put together a Blue Ribbon Panel, with The Governor signing a Grand Proclamation That Something MUST Be Done About This Scourge Threatening Our Way Of Life.

And writing lots of laws. "Hey, look at all the things we are doing! This is what your taxes pay for!" (No mention of the 20% wasted on bureaucrats and inspectors and Senior Executives, but why muddy the waters?)

But no one bothers to see if the laws were actually needed. Or if the old laws on the books should be gotten rid of. They just sit there, until you have laws like the one in Redlands, California, that states "Motor vehicles may not drive on city streets unless a man with a lantern is walking ahead of it." Or the one from Clarenden, Texas that forbids the dusting of public buildings with a feather duster. My personal favorite is the one that makes it a capital crime - death penalty and all - to hunt whales from the back of a pickup truck. In Oklahoma. (That's like those wacky warning labels, where you just KNOW someone had to have tried it first. "Well, they don't forbid me taking my toaster into the shower with me, so I guess it will be okaBZZZZZzzzt ")

You get laws that no rational being would think could possibly be passed in the "Land of the Free", such as the one deciding what kinds of light bulbs we would be permitted to use in our homes. Or the one regulating the flow rate of our shower-heads.

Hundreds of thousands of laws, all of them still as valid as the day they forbade someone from doing something. Professor Victor Davis Hanson once opined that everyone breaks three Federal laws every day, without even realizing what or why.

I think we were better off when we only had Ten...


Anonymous said...

Dave: What you posted here is true. The mainest problem with the elected "officials" in all legislatures, city, state, Federal and everything else in between, is that they nearly always conveniently forget that they work for us, not the other way around. And, it seems that from day one after they are elected to whatever position, they dive head first into a perpetual campaign mode, always trying to get more campaign money by whatever means necessary: begging, whining, cajoling, threatening, lying, etc.

With the debacle we are witnessing and having to put up with in today's Wahington, DC, it is becoming more and more apparent that Congessional term limits are absolutely necessary. I would suggest two six-year terms for Senators, four two-year terms for House members. one five year term for President and Vice-President. Further, I would like to see some sort of way to get a stumble-bum President, such as the one we have now, out of office. Perhaps the Parliamentary method of a national no-confidence vote, with the ousted President leaving the white House within 24 hours after being thrown out.

As it is now, the U.S. Congress, both Houses, shen they are not campaigning, are functioning dysfunctionally in a "Yassah, Massa" mindset. Whatever The Ayatollah Obama wants, The Ayatollah Obama gets, and to hell with whatever the people want.

Crotalus said...

"Full-time Legislature"

Translation: our own God-damned government!

Ragin' Dave said...

I just gotta point out - this was posted by Drumwaster, not me. Credit where credit is due.