The virtue of skepticism

“Not even divided government is safe government, but it beats the alternative.

h/t George Will in the Washington Post:

He stigmatizes as the vice of cynicism what actually is the virtue of skepticism about the myth that the tentacles of the regulatory state are administered by disinterested operatives. And the voices that annoy him are those of the Founders.

Time was, progressives like the president 100 years ago, Woodrow Wilson, had the virtue of candor: He explicitly rejected the Founders’ fears of government. Modern enlightenment, he said, made it safe to concentrate power in Washington, and especially in disinterested executive-branch agencies run by autonomous, high-minded experts. Today, however, progressivism’s insinuation is that Americans must be minutely regulated because they are so dimwitted they will swallow nonsense. Such as: There was no political motive in the IRS targeting political conservatives.

Episodes like this separate the meritorious liberals from the meretricious. The day after the IRS story broke, The Post led the paper with it, and, with an institutional memory of Watergate, published a blistering editorial demanding an Obama apology. The New York Times consigned the story to page 10 (its front-page lead was the umpteenth story about the end of the world being nigh because of global warming). Through Monday, the Times had expressed no editorial thoughts about the IRS. The Times’s Monday headline on the matter was: “IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On.” So that is the danger.

If Republicans had controlled both houses of Congress in 1973, Nixon would have completed his term. If Democrats controlled both today, the Obama administration’s lawlessness would go uninvestigated. Not even divided government is safe government, but it beats the alternative.

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One Response to The virtue of skepticism

  1. Paul Marks says:

    This is true – but divided government also means that the state can not be rolled back Even a President who wanted to reduce government spendingmsay a President Rand Paul, could not do so without a solid majority in both Senate and House. If the United States gets to 2017 without de facto bankruptcy (and that is unlikely) it had better NOT have divided government in 2017 itself – if it does the situation will be without any hope.

    Remember President Reagan did NOT reform the entitlement programs – he may have wanted to, but Democrat power in the House meant that nothing bar bandaids (really tax increases) was possible.

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