Government Distilation

To state the obvious:

1) No matter what Harry Reid says, there are no anarchists in congress.
2) Calling what is occurring now in the U.S. a government “shutdown” is logically speaking a falsehood, born of legalese taken at face value for propaganda purposes.

In the title to this post I’ve given what indeed the current state of affairs should be called. To show why, here’s a rundown of what operations of the U.S. government are affected and what aren’t:

  • Still running: most of the DEA. Hell, the feds are even running in overdrive, as they yanked Silk Road today.
  • Not running: NIH clinical trials, meaning (for example) some cancer patients are having to hold off on treatment.
  • Still running: those people that fondle you at the airport and get away with it, otherwise known as TSA agents.
  • Not running: whoever processes Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Still running: the border patrol, plus Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
  • Not running: Food aid for poor mothers.

By now you’ve probably heard about national parks being closed, particularly the WW2 Memorial in D.C. Some visiting veterans saw the tape & barricades, only to note the silliness of being kept away from something ostensibly meant for them and barge in anyway — rightfully so I’d say. Prog pundits made a rather big deal of this, adding it to the ever growing pile of “look how anti-government those GOPers are!” nonsense. Problem is, if it’s public property, on what grounding does the government claim right to restrict access to it? Regardless of where you are talking about, if some people can keep others away from it, then they are operating as if they own it, not you.

It is curious how that particular case ended. That minor act of civil disobedience at the memorial got waved off, obviously due to the PR disaster of arresting & beating elderly veterans. Publicly, the National Parks Service put out a statement calling what they did “protected First Amendment activity”, even though similar acts anywhere else by virtually any other group are inevitably met with force.

Lesson learned: public slighting of state authority will only be tolerated if the form it takes can be twisted and reapplied to worship of state authority. Instead of people just rightfully reaching a Screw This moment, it becomes “…cuz they were in war! Hooray, war!!”.

The gist of how the government has operated since “shutdown” is summarized rather well by the following observation from Matt Yglesias:

Whether it’s genuinely true that the DEA’s activities are more life-protecting than WIC’s activities doesn’t really enter into the calculation. It’s more that the violence-oriented branches of government have higher social status in the United States than the helping-oriented ones. (emphasis mine)

A clarity is being achieved: The guns in your face are the real government. Revolt insurance is expendable. Bubble goes the still…

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About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
This entry was posted in law. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Government Distilation

  1. Pingback: The shutdown is a Constitutional crsis. | Phil Ebersole's Blog

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