Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The Bigger the Government, The Smaller the People"

The Lollipop Guild
Republican Leadership:
McConnell, Boehner, Cantor 
You said it, John! So I'm thinking maybe they should I will now call it the "Lollipop Guild" rather than the "Tea Party."

Actually, I think Boehner blew his big line last night. A quick search will reveal that most often, the quote is "The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen," reflecting general conservative philosophy that supposedly government takes away individual rights and interferes with individual responsibility. I'm not going to link those, because it's from a bunch of tea party/cultural-warrior types I don't exactly want to encourage. I prefer to think, like Lincoln, that the government IS the People - all the people, not any particular individual citizen, regardless of metaphorical size, attempting to assert his personal interests or "rights" to the disadvantage of other people or groups of people. Admittedly, it is a fine line between the rights and powers of the individual versus the group. I still stick with the Constitution of, by and for We the People (all of us) which I think is the best protector and promoter (not grantor, for heaven's sake!) of individual civil rights.

So, yes, we are (and Congress sort of is) talking about very important issues about the role and nature of our government of We the People. I think the preamble should resolve it easily, but obviously others don't see it that way.

Let's think through this. Boehner's problem right now is that he has a significant caucus in his majority of the House that simple does not want to compromise in any way with the President of the United States. That's their prerogative and the Constitution says that's fine. Both chambers of the bicameral legislature and all three Constitutional branches have their role in getting anything done and nothing gets done by the fiat of any single branch of government. Occasionally, it might in the event of national emergency (maybe a debt default?) which sometimes may justify or at least practicably allow such action, but even then, the other branches will eventually catch up to assert their authority to modify, perhaps to stop it. And ultimately the people through the ballot box will decide.

So, this is absolutely fascinating to watch as yet another test and development of our Constitutional system. Blessedly, while markets and economies (and certainly my federal salary) may be at risk we are not shooting at each other and hopefully will not start. This isn't Norway, after all. And I shouldn't be "cute" about such horrific tragedy because among We the People is Oklahoma City. And even beyond that, We the People of the United States share a common humanity even with Norwegians.


  1. That is dang funny. So funny, in fact, that I lost all sense of propriety and used the word "dang".

  2. (Anon/M) MMM, if you want some elegant historical chuckles, follow Grant's first link to the Atlantic and see the picture of the "Turkish Tom Thumb," whose size was blamed "evidently on a moment of uncontrolled governmental sprawl under the Ottoman Empire."

  3. Thanks, you two!

    Yes, I'm liking James Fallows of the Atlantic more and more. And I was inspired by him and "The Turkish Tom Thumb" to riff off into Munchkinland.

  4. From AnonymousD:

    "The American media, both left and right are made up largely of Chicken Little’s. The sky is constantly falling. Let’s see, when I was growing up the Russians were beating us at everything, then the Japanese, just a few years ago it was the Saudi’s, now the Chinese. There is too much hang-wringing over this stuff. With the exception of the Chinese, where are they now? The Russians, Japanese and Europeans are shambles and it’s tough to get a feel for China because they are a closed society. I guess the Ultimate Joke would be to find out that the money we’ve been borrowing from China they have in turn been secretly borrowing from Canada! Oh, my a Canuck at last!"


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