From the Editor’s Perch…

Reichstag 1932

Reichstag 1932

How Large Should Government Be?

First.  Here is a smidgeon of history from “Bismark’s Legacy” by Tom Palmer:

“The welfare state in its modern form originated in the late nineteenth century in Germany in the political maneuvering and “state building” of the German statesman Otto Von Bismark…  Bismark ushered in the German welfare state through a series of compulsory insurance schemes for accidents, health, disability, and old age…”

“Whoever has a pension for his old age is much more content and far easier to handle than one who has no such prospects.  Look at the difference between a private servant and a servant in the chancellery or at court; the latter will put up with much more, because he has a pension to look forward to.” – Bismark

“It was the collapse in the 1930s of the over-extended welfare state of the Weimar Republic (Germany), widely known at the time as the most advanced welfare state in the world, that ushered in dictatorship, war, and the most predatory and vicious welfare state the world has ever seen, the Third Reich.”

Hitler promised “the creation of a socially just state”.  Have any of us been hearing these words repeated lately?

So.  How large should the government be?

Well, a little smaller than the above, I’d guess.

White House

White House

But, easier decided than done.   For as long as I’ve been alive and literate, a debate has raged over how large our government should be.  Democrats have generally been categorized as the “tax and spend party”, who would cast government as our ‘friend’ and helpmate.  Republicans have generally been cast as the party of “fiscal responsibility” who would pursue “limited government”.  And yet, throughout the leadership of both parties our government and national debt have ballooned.

So, it seems to me that the continuing debate over the proper size of government, is rather like two Africans arguing the proper size of a hippo.
(Which I’m guessing most Africans are too smart to do.)

All the while they argue, and no matter the conclusion they might reach – the hippo continues growing.

Hippo1

hippo3

 As Buckmeister Fuller noted, “to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  This is what happens when a cheetah eats a gazelle.  And this is what happens when the Internet and Fedex feast on the business model of the Postal Service.

So, it seems to me, what is needed in our situation is a predator.  Our government by its nature – (just like the hippo) – grows.  So what we need is something which preys on government; something which uses government for food.  So that a natural balance of government versus citizen is maintained.   And the government’s growth is made ‘sustainable’.

Here I propose that a good model for such a citizen creature would be Anarchists, who would thrive on chewing through a little government each day.  More on this later.  (Where I imagine all of us – a diverse motley of anarchist/citizens, with our little backyard anarchist bins – mulching government).

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). - from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). – from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Photos from Google Images

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2 Responses to “From the Editor’s Perch…”

  1. TK Says:

    I think of two things when reading this. Someone once told me there is only one conspiracy in the U.S. Government: the idea that our two political parties are any different. Obviously there are some differences, but what this person meant was that, when one or the other becomes president, they end up doing about the same thing.

    The second thing I think is that a creature who could prey on government might be citizen participation for all levels of government. I believe that if we paid attention to our local elections like we do the presidential elections, we’d see huge change. I often find myself disappointed by my presidential choices. How did they get there? Was there really no one else better for the job? They got there because a minority voted for them while a majority declined to vote. If everyone voted in every election, maybe those working for the state and federal governments would care more for the people.

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