Tuesday, February 16

Recognizing reality?

Roger Pilon:

...suggesting that some Golden Age of congressional comity has been lost, a candid look at our history shows that comity has been the exception, not the rule. And it’s occurred mainly when one party dominated Congress, as Democrats did during a fair part of the post-War period while Republicans were searching for their identity. So why not over the past year, when those conditions seemed to be in place? Is there something about today’s congressional divisiveness that distinguishes it from the past? I submit that there is, that it’s not narrow policy differences that mainly underpin what we’re seeing, but that the nation is up against a fundamental reality that much of the public is coming to see, even if many in Congress are slow to grasp it.

To barely summarize the matter, the Constitution sets forth a plan for limited government, not for government engaged in all manner of “problem-solving,” as Bayh put it – the problems of private life, mostly, from retirement security, to health care, education, job-creation, you name it. But for more than a century, Progressives have worked to overturn that design. And their something-for-nothing promises that have spurred the ever-greater socialization of life have attracted enough people to make it seem that we were, wonderfully, “all in this together,” especially since the costs of socialization were largely put off to the future. That’s the “comity” of the good life on borrowed money. But those costs cannot be put off forever. Eventually, they come due. And when they do, the differences between those who come finally to recognize reality, and those who still live the dream, are irreconcilable — because reality doesn’t “compromise.” I submit that we’re now at that point.

I hope he's right. Don Boudreaux agrees:
The “basic idea of a majority-rule democracy” in the U.S. has never meant the unobstructed and simple rule by majority vote. The Senate, part of a bicameral Congress, is itself an institution explicitly meant to reduce the likelihood that any temporary passions of the majority are enacted into legislation. Countless other features of government have the same aim.

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