Last week a Federal judge ordered Department of Justice lawyers to attend ethics classes after finding they had committed “unseemly and unprofessional conduct” by being “intentionally deceptive” in proceedings regarding a lawsuit brought by 26 states against President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. The judge also hinted that had he the power, the government lawyers involved would be summarily disbarred.
Disbarment would be nice, but lawyers with the full weight of the Federal government behind them lying to the legal representatives of 26 sovereign states and a Federal judge actually seems to call for a more severe penalty. Old school tarring and feathering, perhaps. But we live in the times we live in, so they’ll take an ethics class, undoubtedly taught by a fellow lawyer. The incident does, however, serve as a reminder that our real problem isn’t necessarily the representatives we elect, but is instead the vast bureaucracy, of which politicians are merely the face we see.
The government is often described, thanks to Hobbes, as a ‘Leviathan’, calling to mind images of a great, ravenous sea serpent. A huge, monstrous government is of course bad and a thing to be avoided. But a Leviathan would in many ways be preferable to what we actually have; large, lone monsters are after all conspicuous and if you know where it lives there’s at least a chance you can kill it. This is unfortunately not the case with our government.
Our current government is more like a huge system of prairie dog burrows. Sure, a politician or a few DoJ lawyers may poke their heads above ground every now and then and get themselves picked off, but for every one you pick off there are ten more down there, digging and breeding, breeding and digging. Sitting in the bed of the truck with a 6-pack and a rifle may be fun, but you aren’t really solving the problem. You’re really only getting rid of the ones dumb enough to get themselves shot.
The size of the Federal government is always much commented upon by conservative politicians: 89,000 IRS employees, 113,000 co-workers of those ethically challenged lawyers at Justice, etc. But the state of California employs some 2 million people. Arkansas has more than 60,000 state employees in a state of only 3 million people. It’s worth remembering that none of these people actually produces anything.
Granted, some of these people are necessary. The numbers do include law enforcement agencies and teachers (whether or not taxpayers are getting their money’s worth from a lot of those teachers is obviously debatable). But taxpayers aren’t just picking up their year-to-year salaries: many state and local governments face a future of serious pension and retirement fund liabilities.
Many good, honest, hard-working people work for government agencies. Most of them aren’t lying DoJ lawyers or IRS agents targeting conservative organizations. But we also have to constantly remind ourselves, and the elected officials who vote to fund all of these disparate government agencies, of O’Sullivan’s Law. The drift of our society to the left both socially and economically, belied by actual electoral success of nominal Republicans in Congress and in many of the states, ultimately isn’t actually led by senators or presidents. Any government institution, if not closely monitored by a vigilant taxpaying electorate, will continue to grow in size, unchecked, seizing ever more authority for itself. The prairie dogs will breed and dig, dig and breed, until the tunnels can no longer support the weight of the earth above, and it collapses.
Last weekend I attended the Texas GOP convention. Yep, one of the biggest state arms of the national party. I don’t know what I really expected, but it exceeded everything I imagined. It was educational, inspirational, and fascinating.
**Disclaimer: I am a registered member of the Republican Party of Texas and have been since I was 18. I doubt I will change my status any time soon, much to the dismay of my #NeverTrump allies. I feel an even stronger necessity to be engaged in the party at the state level than I did before, but will continue to vote Independent or Libertarian as I see fit, like I always have.**
I do not feel a strong sense of loyalty or devotion to the national party. I do, however, feel a need for involvement and activism in the political climate on the state front that is best achieved by being involved with the GOP of Texas, along with other organizations and grassroots efforts.
My mom (you’d like her!) got involved in her local precinct and district. She was named an Alternate Delegate to the convention and asked me to go with her as a guest. I am sad to say that for as much as I wax political on Twitter and otherwise, I have never been involved in the manner in which she is now. She pretty much rocks.
So here I was, sitting in on district caucuses, general session speeches, and roaming the exhibition booths. And I loved it.
Let me give you a few of my observations:
The message throughout was solid. Conservative principles. Texas traditions and values. God, family, Texas, country. Not always in that particular order.
The main event was obviously former GOP presidential candidate and Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. Let me take this moment to say that I have always valued Cruz. I have revered his unmatched resume and remarkable understanding of our Constitution. He was not, though Texan, my first or second (maybe even third?) choice for the GOP nominee for a multitude of reasons, but that is neither here nor there. I had never heard him speak in person, but I finally got that chance.
His wife introduced him and she was...impressive. All politicians’ wives should take a solid look at Heidi Cruz and try to match her eloquence, sincerity, and grace. She spoke of their disappointment in the failed campaign, the effect on their family, their gratitude for the American people and our storied democratic tradition. She contended, and I’m paraphrasing, that our government may work in four year segments, but God does not. She and Ted would continue to be “vestibules of God” and His work for this country, despite the upcoming and subsequent elections. She talked of our rights that were not bestowed by a king or otherwise unelected judged on a court. That they would continue to fight for that which is beyond the authority of any man or government.
Yes, we’ve heard it all before, but it really took on life in that room. People cheered and I got goosebumps. Call me cheesy, but her message resonated.
Then came Senator Ted Cruz. The energy in that room of 8,000+ was unlike any I’ve felt, save an ‘N Sync concert when I was 16. He spoke in a way that was so endearing that I couldn’t believe this was the same “preachy” man I’d seen say similar things on TV. It was different. It came across so very genuine and his thanks so heartfelt. This is his home state and constituency, after all, and he expressed deep gratitude for Texans who started it all and helped him on his rise to the candidacy for President. It was electrifying.
I left the convention on Saturday (amidst much drama with districts that took 8 hours to get to the final general floor vote on various pressing matters) and felt invigorated. This is the heart and soul of our process. These are the people that take time and much effort to ensure we continue in our democratic endeavors as a state and a nation. Our republic depends on these incredible citizens. I left with an overwhelming sense of pride.
I am truly honored to be an American and a Texan.
The revelation that Facebook was stifling conservative news isn't surprising. Why would anyone think Facebook was different than any other form of media? You’re a conservative. No one likes you. You bring realism into a world of cat gifs and selfies and you're no fun. You're going to have to come to terms with that.
Facebook friends will lament the posting of conservative politics, and then share a news article about Bernie Sanders. Eventually you realize it's not politics they don't like discussing, it's just your politics. You, being the a lone conservative in the midst of liberals and socialists, have no place in the virtual biodome. If you want to hear from a friend on Facebook you haven't talked to in five years, post your conservative view on any political topic. Want to hear from the old college friend of your spouse who you only “friended” to be polite? Post your conservative opinion. They may never say “hello” or ask how you are, but they will rant on how wrong you are and attempt to humiliate you in a public forum.
Alternatively, you could figure out a program that works for you. Yes, Facebook sucks as a conservative platform, but there is no need to give up your right to express an opinion. Facebook offers that opportunity, if you are willing to take the hits. Post your politics in between cat gifs and selfies if it helps ease the tension. Eventually your political rants might cause the people who harass you to eventually unfollow/unfriend you. That’s a good thing, they are doing you a favor. Better yet, you should unfriend them. Yes, it’s OK. Keeping angry superficial friends is not worth the trouble. You should to some extent enjoy whatever medium you’re using to express your opinion, and real friends would let you do that without attacking you, or at least being civil.
But don't act like a victim. Don't complain that Facebook members don't want to play with you. Don't demand congressional investigations and call for affirmative action in social media. Facebook is a private company that can do what it wants. Your participation is voluntary. It's not the same as IRS targeting conservatives. If you don't like Facebook, don't use it.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.