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“I’m from the government…”

Ronald Reagan by E.R. Kinstler

The 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan

“…and I’m here to help”.  These words by Ronald Reagan were claimed to be the “nine most terrifying words in the English language”.  Simple in its approach, deep in its implication, he very well could be right.  I am hard pressed to come up with a situation which government has made better when they have finally decided to get involved.  Wonderful uses of the rights and privileges granted to the federal government pale when compared to the abuses and wastes of the same federal government.  Using federal troops to break racist policies in places like Little Rock in the Civil Rights era?  That was a wonderful use of the federal government by President Eisenhower.  I guess you could contrast that with the role of federal government in the Waco tragedy.

It is when the government seeks to use its enforcement powers and ability to compel people to act differently, that I take offense – and I think many other Americans should too.  I don’t know about you, but I have not felt as ordered about by someone since I was in grade school.  It seems as though the leaders of the last few years have felt it was in their own executive or legislative rights to tell (not ask) the American people what they may or may not do.  Few to no judicial challenges for the most part, seem to only have encouraged them to continually push their boundaries onto the people, without critically thinking how future leaders may warp the current rules to suit their own “mandates” to rule their constituents.  It seems as though even local governments are getting in on the act, passing and carrying out rules and regulations that have shaky bases for their existence.

Locally, I have seen bath salts recently banned – because the good legislators realize what a threat they pose to moist, supple skin?  No, because people with nothing better to do were mashing the salts and then snorting them to get high.  Brilliant.  So, ostensibly, to lower healthcare costs and prevent otherwise idiotic people from snorting their beauty products – no bath salts for anyone!  It is a good thing that the active ingredients that cause the highs are not found in anything else, or the government will have to start banning things like blush or Chapstick.  Also, I am pretty sure that the strung out people, so desperate for their fix will not turn to either something far stronger or more damaging, to get that fix.

In cities across the nation, local governments have taken it upon themselves to ban the use of trans-fats in foods.  Whether or not anyone has weighed the healthcare money saved by cleaning up greasy spoons, and weighed it against the costs of the real junk food junkies who might drive out of the locality to get their junk food fix, or simply eat something as bad from a bag, is unknown to me.  New York has passed a slew of laws, trying to force people to act one way or another.  Already seeing $5+ packs of cigarettes still being bought and smoked, they thought it would be a good idea to try to ban the actual act of smoking them nearly everywhere that they could.  Sounds great, right – I mean who wants to suck some hacking, coughing, phlegm-y, smoker’s breath, right?  So in the name of those put out by attending places that they know will have smokers, they have decided that their own rights are more important than the smokers’.

Senator Caveman

Senator Gront - (I) OH , sitting on the set of Meet the Press where he fielded tough questions about fire and mammoth-spear regulation.

All these rules seem to be simply designed to affect behaviors.  The biggest gripe I have, besides the obvious treading upon rights, is the enforcement mechanisms for the usually asinine government plans.  Either an existing entity, local or state police, or a newly invented body, must enforce these rules from on high.  If it is the existing entity – is this really a good way to change the way they spend their time?  If it’s a newly invented entity, is it really a good thing to waste money on?  The thing is, far too often, to me, there is no entity more subject to the laws of unintended consequence, than government.  Pass something, then maybe the people will not whine too loudly about it, and then pass some more.  No problem — heck, a caveman could do it (and haven’t the Weiner and Lee scandals proven that?)


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