Noblesse You?

16 Apr

I know that there are a lot of people out there who are in favor of less government or like Grover Norquist and his followers, no government at all.

But I never hear them explain or diagram what it is that they propose as an alternative.

I will grant you that government is wasteful and has been spending an awful lot of money on that which does not seem to benefit the governed very much. And it needs to be more responsible to the needs of the people it serves as opposed to the needs of lobbyists and corporations and special interest groups…at least that is what I think.

But those who oppose government or what they call “Big Government” as in “Big Brother” or someone or something that is watching us and means to do us harm… or take away our rights, seem to wish to govern by doing nothing at all. At least that is what the 236 Congressmen who have signed Mr. Norquist’s pledge do.

They obfuscate, block, filibuster, delay, and do everything they can to avoid governing. So what kind of government do they and their supporters want should they someday find themselves in the majority of both the House and Senate? Will they govern then? Or quit and leave us without a government at all?

From their proposals so far and from what I have read by others who support them, they are against social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid any form of Universal Healthcare, Welfare in the form of housing, food assistance or unemployment insurance, and any form of government regulation on anything.

They appear to be for increased spending on the military, defense systems, and  homeland security  and for the  privatization of large government entities or bureaucracies like the post office etc.

But they are never really specific about what they would cut and what they would leave and how much that would save us all on government expenses and what the future American society would then look like. Why is that?

Is it because they know that what they want would not be very appealing to what most Americans expect from a government? As far as I have been able to determine their answer seems to be one of Noblesse Oblige.

Noblesse oblige” is generally used to imply that with wealth and power, come responsibilities and in American English especially, the term is sometimes applied more broadly to suggest a general obligation for the more fortunate to help the less fortunate

The Oxford English Dictionary says that the term “suggests noble ancestry constrains to honorable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility.” Being a noble meant that one had responsibilities to lead, manage and so on. One was not to simply spend one’s time in idle pursuits.

Is this what “Small Government” proponents want? Government entities for military, and defense purposes and the wealthy and powerful citizens and corporations will provide for everything else through their charity and kindness where and when they see fit?… Like most European governments in the pre-Revolutionary War days did?

I’m just asking because I seriously do not know what the alternative is that they propose? How do they picture the future of American society? Can someone out there enlighten me please? Nicely I hope and without and noble condescension? Thanks.

7 Responses to “Noblesse You?”

  1. Tyler Roberts April 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Regardless of which party wants to spend or not spend, we will all suffer if they dont scale back government to that which we can pay for. That includes military, which Obama has spent record amounts on, year in and year out. History shows us all paper currencies fail because their governments cant refrain from printing it. This is exactly what we are doing at this very moment, printing nearly 50 cents of every dollar we spend. It cannot last. We can argue the details all we want, but literally no one will benefit when the dollar is worthless and no longer the worlds reserve currency. THAT, is why the folks you named are against more spending. The only problem I have with them is that the military needs to be cut just as much or more than our social programs.

    People have a hard time believing the dollar could fail, just like every other paper currency that has existed. What, did they suspend the laws of economics here in the U.S.? If you want a good example of what has been done to the dollar, go out a buy a pre-1965 dime. When I was a kid it was just a dime, nothing more. Today, it will cost you four to five of those phoney paper dollars we all pack around to buy one single dime, and its all happened in my own life time. One way or the other, the budget will be balanced, either through bankruptcy or by making some wise choices.

  2. Jae April 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    I believe the idea is that states take on much of the responsibilities of governance. That way if people hate the way their state is running things they can either elect new leaders or go to the state that is running things the way they prefer. The Federal Government has no business being in education, agriculture, the arts, housing, health, etc. Their job is simply to keep us from being invaded, to maintain the common currency, regulate commerce between states and represent our interests abroad (which I believe most small govt people would see as maintaining good relations for trade). And that’s it. Congress probably doesn’t need to meet more than a couple times a year (and in emergency situations, like if someone was bombing us). And they certainly don’t need the salaries they currently take, nor all the free-loading benefits they take. We should barely notice the Fed is there at all except in noticing there aren’t Russians or North Koreans or whomever invading our space.

    Everything else falls under the responsibility of the states.

    Certainly not all of this running bases in a hundred foreign countries and sticking our noses in other countries’ business. Ideally we would say to the world, stay out of our business and we’ll stay out of yours, but if you attack us, we’ll unleash the full might of our military on you.

    I have to admit, I always giggle when I see the name Grover Norquist because left-leaning people make him out to be some kind of supreme leader. I think people only know who he is because MSNBC made a big deal out of him. I barely remember he exists until someone mentions his name. I doubt the congressman even know who he is, only that they signed a “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which was to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” Fat load of good that did. Most of them caved, like politicians do.

    But I think we’ve proven running up the debt is the least effective way to solve our problems.

  3. Barbara Backer-Gray April 16, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Good question. No government, no taxes–no roads, no read repairs. No regulation–no guarantee that your million-dollar house won’t suddenly plummet in value because a factory/pig farm/strip club comes in next door. No social security and medicare–who’s going to pay for your parents’ or grandparents’ expenses? Even the rich would suddenly be a lot less rich if they were burdened with the finances of possible two older generations. No help for the poor AT ALL–we’d be stepping over the starving and dead people in the streets, like in India. Do you know anyone who wants to live in such a scenario, even apart from the poor themselves?

  4. aurorawatcherak April 17, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Let’s clear up a misconception right away. The Republican Party does not represent small-government conservatives. At best, it is a progressive party that allows the occasional conservative to come into the fringes of the party, if they promise to be quiet and not cause a fuss. Lately, more conservatives have gotten into the party and are causing a fuss, but the GOP leadership is not happy about it.

    Very few conservatives want NO government. We want constitutionally sized government. The federal government should shrink back to the size it was originally envisioned to be — focusing on its constitutionally-assigned tasks. That would be diplomacy, national defense, international trade, interstate commerce and facilitating cooperation among the states. That could easily sunset 2/3s of the existing federal programs.

    Then, the states pick up the slack when and if the programs are worth keeping. If your state decides not to do it, either elect other state-level representatives or move to a state that has what you want. It makes for much more responsive and accountable government and the people should feel a whole lot less tyrannized since they can now actually do something about government they don’t agree with.

  5. Maurice A. Barry April 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    So many out there fire criticisms at the current government (yours or mine), speaking in generalities, firing off insult. To me it generally sounds like this: “Let ME lead you instead.” The fact is that governance is not something that can be simplified. Like you mentioned it’s time consuming and expensive. It is, however better than the alternatives. To those who simply stand on one ideology to the exclusion of others I offer this–those ‘rules’ you so loudly trumpet are for those who do not wish to take the time to get down and try and understand the huge complexity we all must face. It’s not pretty and it’s not always logical. It’s difficult complex work that must be done the best we can. We will make mistakes from time to time and, perhaps it would be better for all if those opportunities were used as learning objects rather than as weapons.

  6. TamrahJo April 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    I just finished reading “Dr. Portia”, a book published in 1964 by Portia Lubchenco, an American citizen who married a man from Russia who came to her family’s cotton farm in 1907 to study cotton strains. She and her husband fled from Russia during the Revolution of 1918-

    Her story reminded me that historically, whenever daily living becomes so hard for a majority of the citizenry (no food, no heat, no shelter) whatever “leader” promises these things will be ardently backed, until either they have so much power, no one dares go against them or they are so ineffective, they are deposed by another such ‘leader’

    So many in our country depend on aide from the government I do not see any way to make huge changes in a short period of time without risking the chance of revolution.

    That said, I would like to see a progressive and aggressive movement in the education of Local Sustainability, resiliency that allows towns and locals to learn to meet their daily needs from local resources – empowering them to rely less and less on government aide, at which time, government can be reduced and steps taken to change our direction for our federal government.

    These are not easy solutions – we’ve become a centralized and complex system – many I talk to think the ideas of local currencies, local resiliency etc., are not feasible and some accuse me of communism or socialism – I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Capitalist, though I believe our current economic system to not be a sustainable form of capitalism.

    “The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resiliency” gives such a wonderful blueprint and is full of ideas that empower local communities to take action that will aide in effectively addressing our national economic/governing woes – all without waiting for permission from agencies or legislation to pass through a bickering Congress…

    Thomas Grecco’s “New Money for Healthy Communities” is also a wonderful resource for ideas to jump start your local economy.

    As so many before me have commented, there are no easy answers, but I still believe in the American Spirit, and I truly believe if we build strong local economies that include their own safety nets, the issues we face regarding the direction of our state and national governments will be more clearly viewed and resolved.

    And no, I’d really not want to see a return to the Feudal System or Serfdom – 🙂

  7. alesiablogs April 25, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    It honestly seems like you answered your own question with this post. Be Still and know your heart tells your truth the way you see it for a reason. I have learned much from what you write.

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