Ordinarily, when a liberal says something like this, you almost wonder if they’re kidding, before realizing that they’re indeed serious. In a column titled Too Much of a Good Thing, in the New Republic, Peter Orszag, formerly Obama’s OMB Director, actually makes the case that we are hampered by too much democracy. His problem is that our constitutional system (not really a democracy) is too slow to react, and the deliberations and negotiations are simply too cumbersome. In this sense, he tells us, the constitutional impediments to autocratic, dictatorial actions are simply too great. I hate to bring up bombastic notions about historic dictators, but honestly, Orszag is all but begging for it here. In the interests of not debasing this discussion more than his proposition has done on its face, let me simply suggest that Mr. Orszag hasn’t learned the first thing from the history of the last century of human experience.
What he proposes is a system that not only operates in a dictatorial fashion, but automatically without reference to any sort of future restraint by the people. If you think government is overbearing and monstrous now, wait until Mr. Orszag gets his wish. One could almost imagine that Orszag had been joking, and in fact, it would be comforting to believe that, but given that today, another politician of the same philosophical persuasion suggested we suspend elections for two years, in jest of course(?), one may begin to wonder just how serious these people may really have become. I’d be less than responsible if I didn’t tell my readers that I believe that while they may wish to make jokes of these instances, they are completely serious. In Orszag’s case, what his suggestion comes down to is much like the nonsensical, anti-constitutional plan passed through both houses and signed into law by the President on the debt ceiling issue: They want automatic triggers, and more unelected commissions and panels, none of which are provided for as part of the legislative or executive process in the constitution, but which certainly accomplishes their goal of being able to disclaim responsibility when your taxes are raised and your entitlement programs are cut. Not only is this an awful idea, but it must also beg the question: For what purpose do we need the elected politicians if our government is to be placed on perpetual auto-pilot?
You see, what they really fear is the effect you are having for the first time in a generation or more. Suddenly, people have begun to question everything government is doing, and rightfully so. As they question it, they also begin to make demands of their elected representatives, and this is causing serious consternation for those in power: If they don’t begin to produce results for you, they may be out of their jobs, and so as a hedge against this, what they hope to do is put in place a suicide machine of big government that will run on auto-pilot whether you elect to replace them or not. Imagine a world in which no majority you can construct in Congress will have the ability to negate, repeal or otherwise overturn the acts and laws of previous Congresses. This is the actual goal and desire of every statist in either party in Washington DC, and it is also the blunt intention of Governor Perdue’s call for suspending elections, that had been “a joke.”
While there’s nothing funny about the North Carolina governor’s jest, it’s likewise true that Orszag’s proposition is no less dangerous. We mustn’t permit out elected officials to consider for one moment that this is an acceptable solution. We must not allow them to believe that by forming some commission, or some automated calamity of “triggers” that law can be allowed to run the country without reference to the rights or the will of the people. This isn’t merely a bad idea. It’s a demagogue’s attack on our system of law, and it strikes at the very heart of our constitutional principles. Considering what this would produce, based on passed examples alone, it can be concluded that no good can come of it, unless you hold as the good to reduce the people of the country to the status of slaves to the state.
That some governor from North Carolina would even joke about such things is frightening enough, but that a former official in the administration of our current president believes this is a viable solution should cause every reader to shudder at the true meaning: They wish to finally make you completely irrelevant to the governance of this country. They will permit you the illusion of self-governance inasmuch as you will still have elections (maybe,) but those elections will have little meaning in law. When faced with such proposals, it’s time to honestly consider the character of those who now lead our nation, and what else their mindset may yet heap upon us. It has begun to take the form of tyranny, and not one soul should be laughing.