Happy New...Politics; New Government: The Social Leader Weekly

Published: Wed, 01/02/13

Email #436
   Social Leader Weekly by Oliver DeMille
The New Government

The New Government
Why Nobody Can Afford to Ignore Current Events Right Now


We are experiencing a new form of politics in the United States.
Historians will look back someday and date the shift to this new system to 2010. These future historians might label this new style of administration using terms such as "Expertocracy," "Neo-Technocracy," or some other official-sounding word.
I prefer to simply call it what it actually is: Crisis-ocracy.

The key element of this political system is to decide what you want to do, create a crisis, then convince the electorate that the other party is keeping you from fixing things. The following five steps accomplish this very effectively:

1-Decide what you want government to do (your primary political goal).

2-Turn something routine into a huge crisis, or at the very least take advantage of any crisis that comes along.

3-Loudly blame the other party for everything that goes wrong.

4-Promote your primary political goal (see step 1) as the only good solution to the crisis, even when it isn't a real fix and even if it will actually make the problem worse.

5-Repeat steps 2-4 over and over, always using step 1 as the answer for each and every crisis.

President Obama has proven to be a master of this technique. Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's first Chief of Staff and now the mayor of Chicago, famously said:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
This is an ideal motto for the politics of Crisisocracy.
Crisisocracy works most effectively when the media is a willing accomplice, focusing on each successive "crisis" as if it is the great event of our time.
The more the media uses words like "cliff," "bailout, "riots," "kills," "crisis," "fall," "crash," "superstorm," "debt ceiling," "downgrade," "bankrupt," "refuse to compromise," "obstructionists," "recession," "double dip," "since the Great Depression," and so on, the stronger the moral authority of the administration in promoting its agenda.


In addition to this new type of politics (Crisisocracy), we are also moving to a new form of government, a true Spend-ocracy.
Various governments in history have spent too much of the peoples' resources, but a government whose main point is literally to increase spending is truly something unique.
Yet this is precisely what we are witnessing.
The current focus (the primary political goal--see Step 1 above) of the Obama team is to drastically increase government spending and the power of Washington.
Why? Well, in their worldview, history is a long struggle between the rich and poor, and government is the one great hope for real equality and social justice.
Thus, in this view, the bigger and more powerful the government, the more likely we are to experience a truly better world.
The more government spends, according to this perspective, the more it becomes the center of society--and the closer it gets to wresting control from the elite upper classes.
So while the end-game is making government the leading power in society (instead of the elite class), the strategy hinges on becoming a Spendocracy.
This is almost the polar opposite of the American founding view, which held that government is dangerous and therefore the people must separate powers, check and balance government to keep it from hurting its citizens.
While the framers held that government is necessary for national security and to protect the people from crime, it must always be carefully checked or it will become the greatest enemy of freedom.
This view is discussed extensively in the Federalist Papers and was written into the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
The founding fathers believed that government had a vital role in keeping us free, but that the great advances of humanity would come from truly free people taking action--not by government programs.
Over time, this system of freedom continued to spread to all people regardless of religion, race, gender or beliefs. And such freedom brought profound results.
For example, by 1945, with just 6% of the world's population the United States was producing well over half of the globe's goods and services. And since that time, many nations have sought this same kind of freedom.


Today we are witnessing the growth of a different American system.
This new government model, based on the idea that government is our best hope for...almost everything...and spurred forward by one crisis after another, is a serious downgrade.
Where the original American model believed in the enterprising nature of free citizens, the new Spendocracy believes in experts and government officials who govern the people like adults overseeing children.

The irony of this struggle was captured in a political cartoon by Dana Summers for Tribune Media Services. In this cartoon, a middle-aged American couple sits by a table with receipts and bills piled high in front of them. The husband turns to his wife and says that they have gotten themselves into hopeless levels of debt, and asks her what they should do. They are both clearly hurting and worried about their financial future.

Then, in the background, they notice President Obama speaking on television. The couple turns and listens to him.

When he finishes, the couple have huge smiles of relief and joy, and they turn to each other and simultaneously exclaim, "Spend our way out of it!"
They have their solution. Their president has given them hope. The Chief Expert on the nation's future has spoken.
The sad reality is that by following this plan they'll clearly get themselves into a much worse situation. Their debt will drastically increase.
Imagine this in real life. A couple realizes they are hopelessly in debt, and that to get their finances in order they'll have to make some hard choices.
Then, after listening to their president, they happily decide that the best solution is to max out their credit cards, use up all their checks, spend all their savings, double mortgage their home and spend the money, and then try to get more credit cards so they can max these also.
This is a microcosm of the current government.
We realize something is wrong. Almost everybody now senses that Washington is broken. But a "serious crisis is too good to waste," and many of our leaders are telling us that the solution to our nation's major financial challenges are, simply, more government spending.
The fact is that this was the agenda, the goal, long before the phrase "fiscal cliff" was used by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke regarding 2013.
Indeed the goal of huge increases in government spending was part of the 2008 election.
Note that during the 2008 campaign both Republican and Democratic candidates promised major spending increases--albeit of different kinds.
Another recent political cartoon, created by Michael Ramirez for Creators Syndicate, put this in clear relief: An American citizen stands between an Elephant and a Donkey. Both of these mascots for the major political parties are dressed in suits, while the regular citizen is in jeans and a red sweater sporting the word "Taxpayers."
But the message of the cartoon is subtle: Both the elephant and the donkey have a hand stuck deep into the regular citizen's pockets.
Since 2008, we have added $6 trillion of new debt, and government is borrowing 46 cents of every dollar it spends--much of it from China.
In a Democracy, the people would vote for something different.
But in a Spendocracy, anyone they vote for will significantly increase spending.
Reagan spent more than Carter, Bush more than Reagan, Clinton more than Bush, and Bush II more than Clinton.
Obama has spent much more than Bush II, and in addition his administration has promoted increased spending as a sort of moral imperative.
In short, we are rapidly devolving into a new form of government (a Spendocracy rather than a Republic), under a new system of politics (Crisisocracy rather than Representative Democracy).
Indeed, the White House is specifically treating things this way by ignoring Congress and just issuing Executive Orders to fix many major crises.
Both Spendocracy and Crisisocracy are bad for freedom, free enterprise, and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If we accept the "bigger government" agenda and try to spend our way out of our problems, the problems will only get worse.

odemilleOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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