Tuesday, April 12, 2016
A blogger I follow bemoans
a budget crisis facing a government school in her
Chicago State University ... is about to close because the state's incredibly corrupt and lazy governor is refusing to let Illinois have a budget.I agree with the last sentence, but probably not on the cause or the solution. Schools, parks, libraries, and many of the other institutions of civil society that the government has improperly co-opted regularly fall prey to political squabbling over budgets.
Something is deeply wrong when in a putative democracy a single individual can inflict such a terrible damage on an entire state out of sheer malice.
I don't wish to pick on this individual, since this is a widespread kind of complaint. (Focusing on personalities in such events is also common.) I think that such complaints stem from the fact that so many Americans have, for so long, forgotten the healthy skepticism of intrusive government possessed by our Founders. Instead, most people fall prey to what I call the "dictator fantasy". That is, on top of missing the theft -- so common as to seem "normal" -- that a favorite government scheme requires, they half-benevolently and half-naïvely imagine only what they would do were they in charge. Perhaps one of the first things one should ask oneself of any government scheme is this: "What would someone I detest and completely disagree with do if he were in power?" Perhaps, if more people did this, they would see the wisdom of keeping the government out of a given sphere, much as religious people did when they decided to keep religion and state separated, rightly fearing state designation as heretics.
Whether Thomas Jefferson said it or not, it is true that, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." In a capitalist society, it would be relatively easy to continue one's education in the face of one's school closing. (Among other things, a lack government-subsidized competition would allow more schools, privately-run, to exist.) The problem isn't that some state has a [fill in whatever deficiency you want] governor; It's that this state has put so many things under the thumb of its governor.
Today: Inserted omitted word ("with") in suggested question regarding government schemes.