American Consequences - October 2017


When can we say of our political system, "Stick a fork in it, it's done"?

would be tempted to run for the office. So far, it’s worked. Otherwise, only one important question is raised by the Constitution, a question implicit in its preamble: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity... The question being, “Are we done yet?”

The first objective was achieved by the Civil War. Brother fought brother, neighbor fought neighbor, even perfect strangers fought each other. I assume a more perfect Union was formed, since the “Union” side won. We’ve established about as much justice as the country can stand (Perfect justice being a thing none of us would care to confront). Domestic Tranquility we don’t have, but how we’d get it without violating the whole Constitution and Bill of Rights is beyond me. The common defense is so well provided for that even such uncommon things as Saudi Arabians are defended by it. In the matter of promoting the general welfare we have – to judge by the welfare rolls – done it too well. The blessings of liberty are so manifestly secured to ourselves that we seem weighed down by the things, and lately are attending AA meetings and formulating personal diet and exercise regimens to ease the burden. And as for posterity, that’s why birth control was invented. So when can we quit passing laws and raising taxes? When can we say of our political system, “Stick a fork in it, it’s done”? The Mystery of Government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.

14 | October 2017

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