We’re From the Government, and We’re Here to Help

And more and more Americans are beginning to say, “No, thank you.” Why? Peggy Noonan suggests this answer in a post at WSJ.

A major problem for those who want an immigration bill is lack of faith in government to do all the jobs it’s set itself well. People don’t trust it to be able to execute—to do, adequately, the thing it’s set itself to do in its big new laws. We always look at the motives and politics behind a big bill, and talk about that. But simple noncrisis execution—the ability to track and deal with a Tamerlan Tsarnaeu, or to patrol and control a huge border—is a big reason why which people lack faith. Because, you know, they read the papers.

Most of us have to work pretty hard to get things right. Babe Ruth had a lifetime batting average of .342—which means he failed to make it to first base almost 2/3 of the time. Government doesn’t seem to be doing nearly as well as the Sultan of Swat, and as it has become more unsuccessful in many of its basic functions, it has tried to meddle in area outside its rightful sphere. Managing public safety is one thing. Regulating Big Gulps is another.

Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism outlines the history of what I call “nannystateism,” a form of socialism with a smiley face. The control freak forms of socialism split into two main streams a bit over a hundred years ago. In Europe, they wound up with totalitarian forms such as Italian Fascism, German National Socialism, and Russian Communism. They were police states. In America, we flirted with police state socialism during the Wilson Administration, but returned to normalcy during the ’20s. When the Progressives returned to power during the Great Depression and the Second World War, the horrors of the gulag and the holocaust kept Americans away from that kind of state brutality. Instead of control through fear, our politicians have tried to practice control through gift giving.

And so we have a kind and gentle form of control freak meddling by the government. The path we’re on doesn’t lead to Orwell’s Room 101, but it seems headed to a place very like Huxley’s Brave New World. The problem is that there isn’t enough soma to go around, and there probably never will be. Most of us will have to work to support ourselves and our families. So when folks see that a couple of immigrants who never had jobs were supported well enough that they had cell phones and nice clothes and leisure time to party and guns and explosives with which to attack us, they naturally begin to wonder about what’s going on. Some will ask, “Where’s my share of the goodies?” Others will ask, “Why are we supporting these creeps?”

I hope that the second group is larger.

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