Apparently there is some concern that the American government will turn off the lights shortly after midnight, tonight. (April 8th, 2011) According to MarketWatch, "Government operations are now running on a stopgap bill that expires at midnight Friday, and federal employees would be furloughed, museums would close and processing of federally backed loans would halt without a new funding bill. The Federal Reserve and U.S. Postal Service would stay open and current Social Security recipients would keep getting their checks."
Be still, my heart! The Federal government will cease to function? Although many people are worried about this, I'm worried that sometime in the future the government will start up again. If it is any consolation, the last time the government closed its doors, nobody noticed. I know that more than 50% of the population works for the government, and they will raise a tumultuous clamor that they'll starve without a job. The truth is, they don't actually do any work, unless you are referring to the innumerable ways these people make our lives miserable. I agree that many of these people will starve without a paycheck, but I'm not terribly concerned about that. I am more concerned about the less than 50% of the population that slaves and sweats to pay their taxes so the economically bloated bureaucrats can live large at our expense. In nature, this type of creature is called a parasite.
Dictionary.com says a parasite is "a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others." If that doesn't describe the people in government, I suspect you and I are talking different languages. Having studied science I only know two ways to stop the parasite: kill the parasite, or kill the host the parasite is living off of. The reason Congress is considering a government shutdown is because those of us who have been supporting it with a constant flow of cash are completely broke. We have no more to give, so the government has no more to take. A pity, that, don't you think?
My concern for the government, or those who suck off the gravy train it represents are not my concern. What DOES concern me is a phrase from the Declaration of Independence that most people have never heard, or are quick to overlook. It says, "whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise;" The Founding Fathers knew that politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. When a king abdicates a throne, there is an immediate scramble to find someone to fill it. History has never recorded a single instance where the people decided not to replace the king. One of the unfortunate truths about human interaction is that somebody always wants to be in control. That is why anarchy, although an interesting and possibly desirable absolute, will never, ever happen. EVER.
In America, We the People are the source of all political power. We invented state governments by giving them limited control over a small percentage of our lives. The state governments created the federal government by giving it a small percentage of the limited power that they themselves possessed. Over two centuries, because We the People lacked the wisdom and desire to constrain the federal parasite, it has grown so huge that it is difficult to imagine a single part of our lives that it doesn't hope to control. The parasite is now bigger than the host it feeds off of. Unfortunately, this parasite will not die when the host dies. The only real choice we have is what kind of government will take over when this American government closes up shop.
My readers are too young to remember the Great Depression... an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Fortunately we have Wikipedia to shed some historic light on the subject. "The New Deal is a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President of the United States, which lasted from 1933 to 1937. The programs were responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the "3 Rs": relief, recovery, and reform. That is, relief for the unemployed and poor; recovery of the economy to normal levels; and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression."
Here's my take on the Great Depression. The stock market crash of 1929 was deliberately caused. The Federal Reserve, only sixteen years old at the time, dramatically contracted the money supply, causing nearly all economic activity in the United States to come to a stand-still. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a socialist who believed that the government should take care of its citizens. When FDR was elected President, he encouraged Congress to pass several pieces of legislation collectively known as "The New Deal". He successfully introduced socialism into this country, but only because Americans were suffering through the depression at the time. No rational human being willingly gives up control of their own life unless they are afraid they are about to lose it.
There are millions of Americans who will soon repeat history because they are too ignorant to have studied it. With the profligate government spending, including multiple trillions in bailouts and stimulus packages, the United States is about to plunge into an economic nightmare that even our grandparents could never imagine. Yes, the government may close its doors for now, but if history is any indication, "good, patriotic Americans" will be begging for a communist form of government to save them from the troubles of the moment. Gone forever will be the rugged spirit of independence that founded this country. Gone forever will be the individual freedom necessary for anyone to pursue happiness of any kind. That is precisely what happened in Germany when they begged Hitler to deliver them from the economic problems they faced.
I don't believe this is simply "wild-eyed, radical" opinion. Norman Thomas, a six-time candidate for the Socialist Party of America, reportedly said, "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of 'liberalism', they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."