I want people elected to Congress, to the United States Senate, and to the presidency in 2012 with the express message that we are going to go to Washington and try to make Washington as inconsequential in your life as we can. I want the states to become the laboratories of innovation and experimentation. And I want to get this country back.Why is this so difficult for people to understand?
Because we've been trained.
Back when I wrote The Church of the MSM and the New Reformation, I quoted part of a comment sent to Glenn Reynolds by reader Mike Gordon:
Perhaps the most pervasive way in which journalists are different from normal people is that journalists live in a world dominated by government, and they reflexively see government action as the default way to approach any problem. Journalists' world is dominated by government because it's so easy to cover: Public agencies' meetings take place on a regular schedule and, with rare exceptions, have to admit journalists. As a result, participants in the meetings play to the press, inside and outside the meeting room, and the result is the elaborate dance of symbolic actions - gaffes, denials, sham indignation, press conferences, inquests and endless process - that dominates our news pages and means next to nothing in the long run.And we live in a media-saturated world. Of course it's government's job to "do something" about whatever the crisis du jour is. Benign neglect? Who on earth wants that?
Journalists tend to give private enterprise short shrift because it's harder to cover: The meetings are private, aren't announced in advance, and reporters aren't invited. Unlike politicians, most businesspeople aren't required to interact with the press, and many avoid doing so when possible - the downside is usually greater than the upside. As a result, journalists are generally reduced to covering what businesspeople do more than what they say. This is more work, so less of it gets done.
It's no accident that for the most part, the news is dominated by people whose value is largely driven by how much publicity they receive: politicians, athletes and entertainers. The people who actually make the world work - people in private industry, rank-and-file government employees and conscientious parents - are largely invisible in the news, except when they're unlucky enough to make one of the rare mistakes that reporters manage to find out about.
A lot of us.
I was watching the news this evening, and the topic of the regulation of Wall Street came up. Wall Street, you know, is notoriously unregulated. That's why all those bad things happened recently, and why the government had to "bail the fat cats out." Now they want to modify the rules (that apparently don't already exist, since, you know, there's no regulation of Wall Street) and among the changes that Washington wants to impose is a $50 BILLION
This, we are told, will help prevent future financial catastrophes.
I cannot help but return to Thomas Sowell and his theory of social visions. The constrained vision, he says, is dependent on incentives to get desired results. The unconstrained vision, he says, is more interested in intent than outcome.
What incentive is there if failure is cushioned? Does this not encourage greater risk-taking? What, then, would be the outcome expected by the constrained side of the aisle?
And when that outcome occurs? What would be the expected response from the unconstrained side? Would it not be "the fund needs to be bigger"? Otherwise known as "escalation of failure" or "do it again, only HARDER"?
I think O'Dwyer uttered the motto of the Tea Party Movement all the way back in 2005: "Treat me with benign neglect." Or as Rick Perry put it more recently, we want Washington to be as inconsequential in our lives as possible.
Like that's gonna happen.