Friday, February 22, 2008

A Conservative Looks At Clean Government

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

All of the candidates left in the race to become the next POTUS, both Ds and Rs, say they are for change. They say Washington DC needs to be cleaned up from all of the shady business dealings involving evil lobbyists. John McCain once told Don Imus that if he had to choose between “so-called free speech” and clean government that he would rather have clean government. I respectfully disagree with his premise of choosing either free speech or clean government. I believe, as a conservative, that “WE THE PEOPLE” deserve both.

I actually agree somewhat with the candidates’ assertions that there are a lot of shady deals going on in the nation’s capitol. I simply strongly disagree with the candidates’ solutions. The 1st amendment protects the rights to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. This is what lobbyists do. Lobbyists petition the Government for a redress of grievances. So more government regulations, and more government involvement in more aspects of one’s life increases rather than decreases the numbers of lobbyists. This increasing the regulations and oversight in DC is analogous to raising the thermostat setting when your house is too warm. Dillinger was once asked why he robbed banks, and he replied because that is where the money is. The same reply can be made by those who lobby Congress. The more power that Congress assumes in regulations and oversight the more lobbyists are drawn to them. This is analogous to how fresh fecal material draws flies.

Another consideration that is important is the perception “WE THE PEOPLE” have of the prominence and control we allow the Federal government to wield over us. I heard a reporter in New Orleans say that voter turnout there appeared to be lower than expected because many of the residents no longer believed the Federal government can fix all of their problems. I didn’t have the same reaction as this reporter, because IMO it is good and healthy to lower one’s expectations on the Federal government’s role in one’s life. This is true not only for those who have been mugged by reality in the wake of a hurricane season, but also for many fundamental Christians who get too engrossed in pressing the Congress and SCOTUS to deliver the laws and controls on everybody’s life that matches their beliefs.

I recently read an article by Mart Laar about the miracle of Estonia. Estonia is an eastern European country that won independence from the USSR in the ‘90s. Estonians were very poor from years of communist tyranny, but they were rich in ideas and visions of creating a capitalist democratic republic geared toward promoting economic growth. Very early on they chose to limit via the rule of law the bottlenecks created by excessive regulations, soft loans, subsidies, and tariffs. By eliminating these bottlenecks they removed the opportunities that would otherwise exist for corruption in government, bribery, and political muscle trampling on free market competition.

While I do not envy the survival level life they endured at the start, I do envy that they completely scrapped the communist model to create from scratch a new capitalist democratic republic. WE THE PEOPLE do not have this situation of starting from scratch here. I think we can get cracking on deregulation. This will require making Congress an economist-friendly instead of economist-free zone by an electorate who lean on the Federal government less in their pursuit of happiness.

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