Government, by its nature, is vulnerable to a broad reach of failure, and that becomes increasingly difficult to correct as government’s size grows and corruption, or even mere arrogance, increases. Ultimately, government becomes large enough that it deems itself no longer responsible to the people who created it, and it engages in activities for its own benefit instead of ours. Finally, these activities become centered simply on preserving and expanding its own power—which fosters corruption, which fosters further self-preservation and growth, which….
Here are some recent and current examples:
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Political Corruption, Big Government, and Generational Struggle
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Recall that in the last election season, the Internal Revenue Service demanded of a number of nonprofit organizations information about the nature of their politics, who their contributors were, even asking about family members. The IRS intended to use this information to challenge the organizations’ nonprofit status. That this was a biased request is demonstrated by the fact that only conservative nonprofits were targeted, and they were targeted on the basis of the presence of terms like “patriot” and “tea party” in their organizational names.
The then-IRS commissioner, of course, denied this. Douglas Shulman told Congress in March 2012,
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an absolutely awesome expression of governmental hubris, says that New Yorkers should just “get used to” the city’s rapidly proliferating surveillance cameras.
You wait, in five years, the technology is getting better, they’ll be cameras everyplace…whether you like it or not[.]
Amazingly, Federal Judge Richard Posner agrees.
Obviously, surveillance cameras didn’t prevent the Boston Marathon attacks. But they may well have prevented further attacks planned by the bombers, including whatever destruction they may have attempted to cause in New York City. Moreover, the criticism ignores deterrence. By increasing the likelihood that terrorists or other criminals will be apprehended, surveillance cameras increase the expected cost of punishment. That will not deter all attacks, but it will deter many.
Herb Croly, a founder of the Progressive movement, had this to say about the advantages of Progressivism:
To be sure, any increase in centralized power and responsibility, expedient or inexpedient, is injurious to certain aspects of traditional American democracy. But the fault in that case lies with the democratic tradition; and the erroneous and misleading tradition must yield before the march of a constructive national democracy. …the average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to a serious and consistent conception of his responsibilities as a democrat.
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Progressivism, Conservatism, and Moral Equivalence
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Jennifer Rubin has some. For instance,
The old guard has become convinced that Reagan’s solutions to the problems of his time were the essence of conservatism—not simply conservative ideas appropriate for that era.
The Republican Party may survive, but only if its politicians, activists, donors and intellectuals rethink modern conservatism and find new issues to defend and new arguments with which to defend them.
President Barack Obama has decided to appeal last fall’s ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that invalidated his “recess” appointments of three people to the NLRB. The Court ruled that since the Senate wasn’t in recess, the appointments were unconstitutional and so invalid.
Obama’s grounds for appeal would be laughable if the matter weren’t so serious. He
urged the Supreme Court to rule that presidents have broad authority to make certain appointments without Senate approval.
This from a Lecturer in Constitutional law. Presidents have the authority to “make certain appointments” that the Constitution gives them, and not a particle more.
Congressman Tom Cotton (R, AR) had some on the House floor earlier this week.
I rise today to express grave doubts about the Obama Administration’s counterterrorism policies and programs. Counterterrorism is often shrouded in secrecy, as it should be, so let us judge by the results. In barely four years in office, five jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack Obama: the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square Bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and in my own state—the Little Rock recruiting office shooter. In the over seven years after 9/11 under George W Bush, how many terrorists reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask, “Why is the Obama Administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it reaches its targets in the United States?”
As the Wall Street Journal notes,
Video cameras played a critical role in helping authorities track suspects in this week’s Boston bombings. Now calls for increased camera surveillance in the US are putting a spotlight on the technology and the debate about its use.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bragged about that city’s surveillance system. It can
alert police to abnormalities it detects on the street, such as an abandoned package that is left on a corner.
Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia Police Commissioner, said on Fox News Sunday:
It gives you that historical record.
While the second terrorist in the Boston Marathon bombing still was being hunted, Boston and a number of surrounding suburbs were put on lockdown, as police recommended (strongly) that everyone should stay indoors while they searched for the terrorist, a terrorist who, as it turns out, had escaped the perimeter the police had set up to enclose a small part of the city.
During that lockdown, Boston took a number of hits, and so I have some thoughts about the pros and cons of the matter.
- easier to spot the terrorist on the move (which the police never did)
The People’s Republic of China, in its latest national defense report, is accusing the US of “destabilizing” the Asia-Pacific region, because we’re shifting the focus of our attention there instead of keeping it on Europe.
PRC Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, referring to enhancements of our ties with our friends and allies around the Pacific and the South China Sea, and to our strengthening (a little bit) our military presence in the area:
Certain efforts made to highlight the military agenda, enhance military deployment and also strengthen alliances are not in line with the calling of the times and are not conducive to the upholding of peace and stability in the region[.]