The Dismal State of Our Union



By Mr. Curmudgeon:

No one need have bothered watching President Obama’s State of the Union Address. The upshot of every speech given by the president has a common theme: the government drives American prosperity; our Washington overlord is a political and social expression of the glue that connects us one to another; as a nation shackled together like a Georgia chain gang, should one stumble, our only option is to pick up and carry our fallen fellow prisoners in order to move forward; directing our forward movement, of course, is our Washington overlord.

However, unlike a Georgia chain gang, the costs associated with maintaining a continental prison camp comprised of 311 million souls is extremely costly, requiring the prisoners to labor more strenuously in support of the overlord. “Work,” as the Germans once promised, “will set you free.”

Among mathematicians, Obama’s politics is called “chaos theory”: It states that a slight variation introduced into a system causes massive ripple effects that change outcomes. “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” 100 years of American Progressivism proves, “Yes.” That proof is seen in today’s economic depression, the massive accumulation of national debt, the cost of maintaining a crumbling entitlement system and the increasing dependence of Americans on the very system shackling them.

Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio provided the Republican response to Obama’s Progressive chaos. He began with the usual GOP boilerplate criticisms of big government and then – as is so typical of Republicans – undercut them. “Now does this mean there’s no role for government?” asked Rubio, “Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life.” In other words, the Republican response is that Progressive chaos is good … in small doses.

Beginning his Senate career as a Tea Party favorite in 2010, Rubio has since been co-opted by his party’s establishment, adopting as his own the language of prattling, big-government, Karl-Rovian compassionate conservatism. In short, the GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union was a sheepish, barely audible, “Amen.”

Rubio, considered presidential timber among the GOP elite, hopes to follow in McCain and Romney’s footsteps. Hello President Hillary Clinton!

Lucky for the country, there was a response to our two-party chaos: the Tea Party rejoinder given by Tennessee’s Sen. Rand Paul. “The path we are on is not sustainable,” said Paul, “but few in Congress or in this Administration seem to recognize that their actions are endangering the prosperity of this great nation … All that we are, all that we wish to be is now threatened by the notion that you can have something for nothing, that you can have your cake and eat it too, that you can spend a trillion dollars every year that you don’t have.”

“The President does a big ‘woe is me’ over the $1.2 trillion sequester that he endorsed and signed into law,” continued Paul, “Some Republicans are joining him. Few people understand that the sequester doesn’t even cut any spending. It just slows the rate of growth. Even with the sequester, government will grow over $7 trillion over the next decade. Only in Washington could an increase of $7 trillion in spending over a decade be called a cut.”

In that single paragraph, Paul accurately describes the phony left/right, liberal/conservative debate in America: a distinction, in practice, without a difference. As a government unrestrained by its founding charter, more than $16 trillion in the hole, and a once free people forcibly hitched to the heavy wagon called ObamaCare, Progressive chaos flourishes where there is no clear alternative vision or articulate spokesmen to express it.

The debate between the two major parties is not over who stands for freedom but who is a kinder, gentler overseer. Our chain-gang shackles remain.

Lost in the left/right debate is the question, “What is government?” James Madison described it as the “greatest of all reflections on human nature.” Human nature, prone to violence and greed, requires criminal laws to punish those that injure our person and forcibly take our possessions, controlling the natures of all but the most evil. The trick, wrote Madison, was devising a national government obliged “to control itself.” Can any honest American describe Washington as an example of self-control?

The Tea Party response to the president’s State of the Union is not complicated: The shackles Washington employs to bind us together reflects the darker side of unrestrained human nature that Thomas Jefferson warned would emerge once government wrestled free from “the chains of the Constitution.”