Monday, March 30, 2009

Just A Few More Thoughts For Today

Some thoughts on today's news that our government is now telling automobile companies how to run their business.

It seems to me that the vast majority of folks are not at all concerned with the change in course we have just taken with respect to the relationship between private business enterprise and our federal government. In fact, some are just downright giddy about all the long-overdue changes that are finally taking place. They trust big government to wage the war against the excesses of capitalism and all the greedy bastards on Wall Street.

Over the past several years, the excesses of various industries, companies, business leaders and individuals have all coalesced into one big chaotic mess of too much leverage and too little sense of responsibility. But that's the nature of humanity. As imperfect beings, we tend to get caught up in our own greed, narcissism and ambition. Like it or not, that's just what people tend to do.

Here in America, our system of government was set up to create an orderly structure that balanced the benefit of individual freedom against the burden created by the simple fact that not everyone is nice or plays fair. When the government doesn't do enough...the "not-so-nice" (or "not-so-smart") people have too much leeway to fuck things up, and their excesses negatively impact everyone. Not good. But because our government is made up of imperfect individuals, there is always a danger that government will go too far. The danger of an overreaching government was addressed extensively in our founding documents (Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.) The focus was on protecting and preserving individual liberty...and an omnipotent and wide reaching government run by imperfect individuals was seen as a threat to individual liberty.

Hopefully I'll just say this once. Our government has stepped over the line. Way over the line. It is both pitiful and frightening to witness the unprecedented expansion of government influence and power occur in an atmosphere of applause by seemingly intelligent and enlightened people. Many eagerly sidestep the basic question of whether the government is empowered to do what it is doing.

Those who just want to "give it a chance" (whatever "it" may be) reveal themselves to be poor students of history. Every time...every single time...a government has engaged in the kind of actions currently being undertaken by our administration, it has ended badly. Massive inflation (which may or may not happen this time), an exodus of capital, a decline in competitiveness, and an expansion of the State. Simply put, big government is bad for business. And what's bad for business is bad for all of us.

Yes, our government must play a role in regulating business to strike a reasonable balance between individual liberty and the need for an orderly society. But it is my firm belief that those who are not alarmed on a visceral level by what is happening now are simply not seeing the big picture.

If you don't understand the basic framework of our system of government, then you're focused solely on what's "right" or "wrong." But if you do truly understand the "balance of power" between the three federal branches, the states, and ultimately the individuals, then you likely realize that arriving at the "right solution" is always the goal. But if you take the wrong road to get there, then it is a Phyrric victory.

The "powers that be" in Washington D.C. are taking the wrong road...simply because no one can stop them and it is politically expedient to do so. History will show that this is a dangerous victory.

A salient question: Why are American Eagle .45 ACPs now $31/box when they were just $19 last month?

Answer: Not everyone is asleep at the wheel.

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