Bear with me.
Time and again we hear the GOP, establishment and fringe alike, tell us that we’ve got too much government. Never mind the irony of a party that practices medicine without a license by way of routinely mandating transvaginal ultrasounds telling us what too much government is. Just, um, never mind. Never mind a lot of horribly invasive “small” government ironies.
Damn, it’s hard to do this with a straight face.
Let me try again.
We’ve been through quite a few government shutdowns now. Whoever did whatever to whomever first, and however long these shutdowns have lasted, not a single one of them has actually turned into a fallen sky moment. Sure, there have always been cries of “the sky is falling!” There may have even been a few times where it dropped down a few inches. But it hasn’t crashed to the ground. In plainer words, our republic has remained whole for some value of whole.
That’s right. Seventeen separate spending gaps/shutdowns since 1976 and not once have we erupted into civil war as a result. The republic hasn’t collapsed. There have been no obvious military coups. After enough fit-throwing, both sides of the aisle eventually catch enough hell from back home (at least I like to think so), compromises are worked out, and life goes on through the next election cycle, and the next, and the next.
To the extent that we have not become the Balkanized States of Mayhem, it turns out that the GOP is right after all. Clearly, if all we need to remain functional are the “essential services” and we can shut down absolutely everything else and remain whole as a nation, we have far too much damned government.
The problem is that they are right only for the length of a shutdown. Beyond that? It’s all conjecture. Stopped clocks are right twice a day. It might just be that the GOP is also right…for three days at a stretch, or five, or twenty-one. I say we give them all the rope they want and see how long they stay right.
Consider for a moment that I’m the jackass that endorsed Romney for all the wrong reasons. I also wholeheartedly endorse the shutdown for all the wrong reasons. President Obama and the Senate should hold firm, giving not a single inch, as should the GOP. Let the shutdown last for months. Let trickle-down/ripple-out failure spread far and wide. Let it cost jobs, homes, plant closures, foreclosures, every imaginable default, every indignity, every injury, every conceivable suffering, even death.
@anildash: One of my closest friends treats kids with cancer at the National Cancer Institute; Today they’re planning for how to shut down tomorrow.
While the economic devastation trickles into torrents and ripples into rolling waves, we can all take a break from the hassles of gainful employment, home maintenance, self care, even eating, and consider why exactly it was that the Articles of Confederation were such an abysmal failure. We can take solace in the fact that, while all of us suffer, it will be the red/taker states that suffer most without a federal teat from which to suckle.
And maybe, just maybe, the next time there’s a slate of nincompoops, imbeciles, nitwits, and drooling cretins running on a platform of Small Government Up Your Vagina for Fag-Hating Corporate Warmonger Jesus on a Pipeline, enough of the rest of us will turn up with pitchforks in one hand and voter registration forms in the other to make a lasting fucking difference.
We get the government we deserve.
Cross-posted from Ars Skeptica.