A Sunday Rant

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My latest effort at coloring. Photo taken in the evening under a reading lamp. Paper is white, colors are more intense., ADS 10/2015

After a couple of days of catching up with my yard, I finally got back to Political Order and Political Decay, my latest read from Francis Fukuyama.  FF writes a splendid history, and the question in my mind is why wasn’t this required reading for any of the classes I took that focused on world history, particularly twentieth century word history?  Oh I know, FF was cast as a neocon (disenchanted Liberal) by some reviewers and some open-minded profs aren’t so open-minded.  Well, I’ve read a few neocons, and FF is not a right-winger.  FF is a dam good historian in the Weberian model.

I wish everyone would read this book, but I doubt many will.  The last section describes political decay in the US government.  FF offers the example of the Forest Service, which began as a splendid agency and has crashed and burned in recent decades.  Literally, much of what the FS is supposed to manage has gone up in flames. Politicians, interest groups, ignorant citizens are to blame of course.

Overpopulation, overbuilding make the problems worse. I don’t know who I despise more, people who build on barrier islands like those off the coast of NC (David’s evil brother) or people who build in old-growth forests around places like Asheville, then expect the federal government to insure their homes. Everyone wants to get away from it all, but there is no getting away from it all anymore. Stupid Dan Snyder (owner of the deadskins) built a home above the George Washington Parkway and illegally chopped down trees. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Donald Trump built a golf course that cleared huge areas in once wooded ravines that have held the land above the Potomac in place since before the Depression.

Competing interests at the top among elected officials have created disturbances below that flow throughout the government agencies. Pick your agency…State Department, IRS, Veterans Administration….the list goes on and on.  Dysfunction breeds disjunction. Taking a meat cleaver to agency budgets is not helping anyone get their act together.  When Paul Ryan who is an economic whiz, develops a sensible budget, he has it thrown in his face and accused of trying to push old ladies off cliffs.  And yet under Obama, Seniors have not had an increase in their SS in three years.  This really hurts old ladies.

The government is far too huge and unwieldly and many government officials have lost their way. Too much is spent on failed programs. And the list of failures is endless. Worse than that we have duplicates of duplicates of programs…47 addressing poverty (last count) and poverty is worse than ever.

Powerful people (political appointees and bureaucrats who have survived the system) have vested interests, fiefdoms.  The much touted “Reinventing Government” under Clinton was a bust. He was so naïve, the kid from Arkansas couldn’t outwit the wily bureaucrats. I love Ben Carson, but he can’t manage them either.  John Kennedy said in 1960 that fighting the bureaucracy was like fighting a feather bed.  Maybe John Kasich can, he knows how it works, but I don’t have high hopes.

 Okay, I’m going to stop now and color!  Happy Sunday!

14 thoughts on “A Sunday Rant

  1. Reading your blog posts is a real education and makes me work my brain towards finding out more. Having only been a US Citizen for a few years I consider being able to vote a real honor and want to vote for whom I think is the right person. Reading as much as I can on candidates is very important to me and reading your posts make for such an interesting, informative read. Thanks Dianne!

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  2. I was brought up in a very politically active family….. Ranting is good. Trying to discuss views with people different from your own…., mostly pointless. The term “open-minded ” is used too often under false pretenses …… And heck, it showed both days this weekend here making me sad…

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    • By open-minded in reference to professors, I am referring to “critical thinking”. In graduate school, we are supposed to be exposed to all sides of an argument, not presented a left-wing mantra.

      I don’t know exactly what you are referring to, because I am mostly tuning out politicians who always lean on “talking points.” Also I don’t generally keep up with politics in NY.

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  3. Well, as my mother used to say, someone got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning! I’ll have to check out Fukuyama’s book (I read one of his previous books, a long time ago). As you suggest, all those govt programs start out with the best of intentions, but eventually what they do is just grow and expand until the point is no longer so much to address the original problem, but just to keep growing and expanding. Interesting article in the Times today about how the Federal housing programs tried to provide housing for poor people, but in so doing they perpetuated the slums, the racial divide, the unequal educations, and a lot of the other problems of the underclass.

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    • Actually, I feel really good Tom. Yes, the more the govenment tries to help the worse it sometimes gets.

      I’m channeling my Dad this morning. Although he voted for FDR and Truman, he became A conservative Republican. Now I understand why. He worked for the Forestry Service when it actually did something positive. God bless him, his 101 birthday tomorrow, although he died in 1992. Today I’d like to hug him and say, now I understand Dad.

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  4. Well that colouring book certainly has enlivened you today – I think those are the most Fired up’ words you’ve written in a while lol
    Nice to see Dianne and her opinions back again 🙂

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  5. While I was at first enamored by the straight talking of The Donald, I have now totally soured on him. His sickening interview on eminent domain and now putting 9/11 totally on George W. Bush (though all the planning and financing was done on Clinton’s watch), has revealed him for who he is. Basically, believing that everybody but himself is a loser. It’s on to Carson for me.

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    • Yes, it looks like Trump bought the Fahrenheit 911 smear. I didn’t vote or Bush, I voted for Gore and was sick when he lost, but I know George Bush had nothing to do with 911. My goodness he had only been president about eight months.

      As for candidates, my daughter likes Carson too. Can he deal with this mess in DC…I don’t know. I’m waiting for a third party candidate myself. Where is John Anderson when you need him? And yes I voted for John and actually met someone who worked in his campaign.

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