‘Nothing’ is best government activity

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 30, 2018)

There is one thing government could do which I will support. One thing I believe it needs to spend more time doing. It’s the one thing government can do best, the one thing government can do which will actually help, and the only thing which can justify taxation.
What is this extraordinary government activity? Nothing.

I support government doing nothing, and I believe it needs to spend more time doing nothing. Nothing government does is better than what the market can do. Government does nothing which helps, and nothing justifies taxation.

This doesn’t mean I’m against everything government currently does; I’m against those things being done by government with money stolen from my neighbors who may not want such “services” at all. It’s an important difference.

As long as people are going to imagine government is necessary or even desirable, I want it sitting in a donut shop day after day gossiping, eating, and drinking coffee rather than being out there meddling in our lives. I may still have to pay for it, but at least this would limit the additional abuses. If people are truly desperate to encounter government, let them go find it napping in its office, never running free in the community among the people.

It’s why I favor gridlock. It’s as close to government doing nothing as we’re likely to get.

As lawyer, newspaper editor, and politician Gideon J. Tucker once observed, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” He noticed this fact back in 1866; the situation has only gotten worse since then.

Gridlock is a partial solution– the one way, under the current circumstances, we can stay a bit safer from government’s probing fingers.

As long as gridlock is paralyzing Washington, DC, neither side will let the other have a win, so new laws aren’t being imposed.

While the politicians are at each other’s throats, trying to prevent the other side from having its way with us, perhaps they’ll be too distracted to find new ways of grabbing for our wallets, touching our bodies, and fighting against our liberty. It may be the best we can hope for until the people stop tolerating a distant gang of criminals always seeking new ways to control their lives.

I’m in favor of anything which helps government approach the ideal of doing nothing, even if it’s only temporary and limited in scope. Gridlock is a good start.

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