06.19.07

Command + Z

Posted in Society at 15:16 by RjZ

There’s a choice U.S. Americans will have to make when they start to select a candidate for president next year. It’s one that will be easy for the more than 200,000 Libertarians (United States’ third largest party…) That is, do they wish for a government that strives to reign in all the bad things the Bush administration has done for the last eight years, like the Patriot Act and war, or would they opt for one that uses its power (our power!) to do all the good things that citizens want to have done.

Most will likely choose the latter and that’s why politicians don’t usually run on what they hope to undo, but rather what they plan on doing. That’s too bad.

One problem is the basic liberal starting point that ’something ought to be done.’ Unfortunately, real world problems are complex and exactly what must be done is difficult to agree upon. We’ve seen loads of examples of this in the last divisive eight years. Should we limit a woman’s right to choose or not? Should we allow a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants or not? Shall we raise taxes to pay for new services and health care or not? Many people are pretty convinced on both sides of those issues. Who get’s to choose which of them is right for everyone else? The more we ask politicians to do something about them, the more people disagree with the results. Your version of the something that ought to be done might not be mine. Even if that’s not the case, our actions often have unintended consequences.

Of course, conservatives have lost their way as well. They’ve shamed their small-government ideals with a swelling bureaucracy and exploding debt. They’ve meddled in every part of our lives from medical marijuana, to what happens when you die; from religious freedom to property rights. Perhaps they’ve spent so much time with their liberal colleagues, ensconced as they both are in Washington. Both sides seem to agree that a “powerful do-everything state that will do just what they want it to do, and no more.”

Am I saying that politicians should sit on their hands for the next term? Not exactly. A wise friend of mine once proposed that congress ought to pass the following simple law:

For any new law to pass the house a senate of the United States, two laws currently on the books must be repealed as they are no longer necessary.

I’m confident that government could stay busy for a long time to come with this law in effect. There’s plenty to do in separating the few seeds of wheat from the overwhelming chaff of the last eight years (and beyond.) For example, even the Patriot Act, isn’t all bad. The original spark for the act, that government agencies ought to be able to share legally obtained data with each other, is certainly reasonable. It might be worth rescuing from the ever expanding realm of privacy invasion that extended just what legally obtained means.

Command + Z

One of the most powerful commands on my computer is available in virtually every application installed. Wouldn’t it be great if our government’s undo command weren’t grayed out and unavailable?

1 Comment »

  1. tess said,

    June 21, 2007 at 22:46

    that damn ctrl z. it really makes you think of all the things you’d like to reverse in your life. mine are more personal than global like yours. the bad choices, the lovers i’ve hurt, not moving where i’ve wanted to live my whole life until i reached my 30’s. ah well, it’s all part of the experience, right? just like our govt.

    but shouldn’t libertarians truly live and let live? how can they undo what someone else has done? that’s exerting too much power, isn’t it?

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