If you have been on this Earth for any significant time, you have probably and painfully learned that there is a difference between thoughtful consideration and procrastination. Dithering does not qualify as deliberation. Certainly prudence demands that we examine our options to determine which one will yield the most favorable outcome. Undoubtedly you are familiar with the term, “paralysis by analysis,” wherein over-examination of a difficult decision leads to a failure to act or respond. These scenarios are common for most of us, and we recognize the pitfalls that arise because of our inability to respond. These are some of the rules of life, but in certain quarters the rules are suspended. Take career politicians for example.
Most professional politicians suffer from an aversion to critical decision making. As you know, on an issue that is prominent and divided, the politician risks annoying or infuriating a large portion of his constituents no matter how she or he may vote. As a result, many crises in our affairs of state arise because of the career politicians’ refusal to deal with an issue promptly and forthrightly. Issues become problems that beget crises that cause nervous handwringing and intense arm twisting. Generally, the politician succumbs to expediency and meekly follows the leadership to a minimalist response to the moment to escape the volcanic wrath of the electorate. Thus, the “can” of concern is kicked further down the road only to rise again at a later time with consequences far greater.
Abscessed characters and absences of integrity are too common among the careerist political class. The most self-centered among them weigh every decision on the scales of electoral expediency. In some respects the self-serving types are preferable to the indecisive cowards because their positions are so predictable. Whatever vote or pledge has the greatest potential for maintaining or advancing the politician’s career is the one that is taken or cast. The concept of a principled vote or position is alien to the class of politician who is consumed by opportunism. It is the expedient politician who has helped to elevate his class on a par with used car salesmen and snake oil peddlers in the popular views of the people.
Another factor besides the personalities and preferences of the politicians for the sense of crisis that seems pervasive is the sheer size of government…at all levels. Their consistent expansion and overreaching for the past century has resulted in bloated monstrosities that are ineffective and impossible to manage. Factor in the overlap and redundancy elements of many governments, and we often find ourselves in crisis mode because of competing bureaucracies or sectors of interest that are unaddressed because the various bureaucracies remain stuck in “turf-protection” gear. Large sluggish enterprises are inefficient and ineffective. Large public sector institutions are much worse than their private sector cohorts because it is nearly impossible to dismiss incompetent or lazy workers. So the massive organizational structure of government is a primary contributor to the frequency of crises in our public discourse. Government agencies often overreach and frequently under perform. Either of those response modes could germinate a crisis.
Closely associated with the unrestrained growth of government is its insatiable need for operating funds. With Big Brother and Nanny State gobbling more control of our lives and our commerce, the financial requirements escalate. So, it seems there is a constant crisis for funding…at all levels of government. Their incestuous relationships and complex network of grants and mandates place an increasing financial burden on the taxpayers. When the bureaucrats and political class decide that additional funding is required, they claim that a crisis is imminent, and the funds are vital for averting a catastrophe.
There are two aspects of crisis that may not have so large of a domestic human component in the chain of causation..…attack by foreign entities and a natural or commercial disaster. Time and again our government’s response to a provocation or natural disruption has been too little, too late. Often when lives were saved, it was the heroic actions of individuals---some from the public sector and others just ordinary citizens—whose actions were the most helpful and effective. We may never know what involvement government had in the generating of the crises, if any, because of foreign policy, the inadequate construction and repair of levees, unrealistic environmental restrictions that limit the building of water-breaks and dams. The point is that people, local people, respond more quickly and effectively in many cases than does the government-controlled response agency. Does the memory of thousands of unused FEMA trailers for the Gulf Coast ring a bell? Many of those trailers were sources of breathing problems because the gaseous releases from the interiors….typical.
In every crisis for the nation, governments play an instrumental role. Sometimes government’s failure to act initiates the problem or makes it worse. On other occasions government’s response is inadequate or inappropriate and may exacerbate the problem. Finally some issues may be precipitated by government so as to assume more power and control over the population. In summary, big government and crisis appear to be synonymous. Friends, we have a crisis, and as Rahm Emanuel advises “we should not let a crisis go to waste.” Continue putting the heat on them, jump on your pony, Patriot, and let’s get control of this monstrosity.