web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Rubin Reports: The Government is Not a Magic Box

President Obama signing health care bill into law

President Obama signing health care bill into law
Photo Credit: Keith Ellison

And then, of course, you are using other people’ money. A factor that also makes people careless and spendthrift. You are not subject to the rigorous cost effectiveness that a business faces.  It is easy to conclude that you know best and it is necessary to make others do things for their “own good.”

Self-interest dictates the maximum accumulation of power and money for yourself and your department. To fill up the day you must produce regulations and reports on other’s compliance with existing regulations. As a result, there is a strong tendency to tighten the noose around the freedom of your subjects. And for many, this is reinforced by a specific agenda to be put into place, whatever the cost or effect on the citizenry.

The reality of federal government culture is known to relatively few outsiders. The work ethic is a joke for many (though a few labor with fanatical zeal). To do the least possible is a passion for most and they know they can get away with it. Nobody can be fired. Think of a vast, lavishly-funded version of the post office, with no criteria for success or efficiency, able to conceal its actual workings, and answerable only to itself.

In short, those who write the bills in Congress and enforce them – or, increasingly, even create them as regulations in the government bureaucracy – are structurally and inevitably pretty indifferent to those who pay the bills.

And, of course, when one adds in electoral politics, the temptation to buy votes by doling out money and privileges becomes irresistible. The government takes credit for giving out “free” stuff when the things are merely being paid for by others. There is no surer way to serve one’s self interest than to pretend one is acting in the public interest.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressman and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

Roosevelt’s statement might have been appropriate for his time. But what happens when after decades of continuous growth the once-small government becomes a country in itself?

What happens when a government through the power of the purse and of regulations can ensure reelection?

What happens when the “fail-safe” institutions of the media, the educational system, and the entertainment industry are enlisted in its ranks, as well as the use of crony capitalism to create “captive corporations” through massive subsidies that don’t even accord with the public interest?

What happens when the functions formerly held by elected officials are usurped by appointed officials and their agencies?

What happens if all of the elected and appointed officials, caught up in their own culture of accumulating control for their “team”, become less responsive than ever?

Then, government does become an “alien power,” or at least a power in the hands of a class or caste that wants to impose its way of life and thinking on everyone else. That is the real “class warfare” going on in America today.

Without going overboard in the analogy, compare this to the Communist experience. Let’s give the Bolsheviks the benefit of the doubt: many of them wanted to make Russia a better place to live. By no coincidence, those who were most sincere and idealistic in that pursuit ended up with a bullet in their heads.

“Government” was supposed to be a black box that would exercise the people’s will without having any will of its own. But all the factors listed above came into play. Absolute government abuses power absolutely. And when the controls are removed, the most greedy, power-mad, and arbitrary rise to the top.

Once you abandon a deliberate division of power and limitation of power, as the authors of the U.S. Constitution understood, abuse of power is inevitable. Here’s how Leon Trotsky put the same basic lesson in Communist terms: “The party organization substitutes itself for the party, the central committee substitutes itself for the organization, and, finally, a dictator substitutes himself for the central committee.” The “dictatorship of the proletariat” becomes the dictatorship first of the party and then of the dictator. And in a Western democracy, in Roosevelt’s phrase, the government is no longer ruled by the voters but is in practice an “alien power” ruling over them – telling them how to live, what to do, messing with the functioning of the society and draining more and more of its wealth.

Obviously, this is not the same situation in the United States. Yet the same basic rules apply.  Government is like a collection of alcoholics, eager to be or already drunk on power.  Society needs to keep them sober by ensuring they stay on a diet of soft drinks and fruit juice.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rubin Reports: The Government is Not a Magic Box”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.
Gaza: Egypt Responsible For Weapons Shortage
Latest Indepth Stories
US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.

Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations

Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

ISIS terrorist carries the group's black flag.

Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”

Cliff Rieders

Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all

Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war

There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…

When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.

“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”

Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.

For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot

The only way to become humble is honesty about our experiences; it’s the only path to true humility

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-the-government-is-not-a-magic-box/2012/03/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: