TMLutas' blog posts can now be found at Flit(tm)

September 11, 2003

Wanted: a Department of Anarchy II

Posted by TMLutas

I wrote earlier about the idea of organizing a specific body of the US government (frankly just about all governments could use one) that would be dedicated solely to the proposition of turning government functions over to private industry. Now that I've read this article over at National Review Online, I can only say that we need such a thing now more than ever.

It was a simple idea that the Budget Committee had. Go to all the other committees and ask them to identify 1% of their expenditures that might be wasted and deserved further scrutiny. They named a deadline of September 2 for responses. Fewer than half the committees answered by that deadline.

The idea that neither party in the legislature would bother to even try to identify waste, fraud, and abuse is just disgusting. It's a mockery of the hard labor of taxpayers to create the wealth that these politicians throw around with such abandon.

For shame.

An Accidental Experiment in Freedom

Posted by TMLutas

Hat tip to James Taranto's Best of the Web who notes Mayor Eruviel Avila Villegas' innovative anti-corruption initiative. The Mayor is eliminating official bribery by radically downsizing the number of petty crimes that are available to extort money over. The first target has been non-criminal traffic and parking citations (drunk driving and other dangerous behavior incidents still draw the police). So far, the experiment is working and a radical experiment of freedom is born, not as classical liberal experiment but as a desperate measure to pry society's official wolves out of the people's wallets.

Next up? Building permits.

America's Shame

Posted by TMLutas

On this 2nd anniversary of 9/11, the wound might have healed enough to speak a bit about american guilt at the events. No, there was no grand conspiracy by the US to launch the attack but two curious facts exist that nobody, to my knowledge, has ever convincingly explained.

1. The death compensation for the victims is very much out of line with other death benefits before and since that event
2. The WTC victims get more money than the Pentagon victims.

When the Soviet flag came down from the Kremlin and was replaced by the Russian flag, the Cold War ended. There was great talk about a peace dividend and soon the budget knives were out. "The End of History" was at hand. Not only was the defense budget cut but national security faded from swing voters' attentions (the US is electorally divided in three with one third in each ideological camp and a third that swings between the two).

The risk was viewed as low enough that it was acceptable to elect the closest thing we've ever come to an anti-security president as it was more important to punish GHWB's tax betrayal than to maintain a security apparatus that the end of history had rendered unimportant.

That judgment was unchanged by the 1993 WTC bombing. It was unchanged by the Clinton administration's revelation that their first military priority was the integration of homosexual soldiers. It shrugged off the several episodes of singular humiliation of uniformed officers at the hands of Clinton staffers. It was unmoved by the rise of the Taliban, the birth of Al Queda, the ever increasing attacks.

We bugged out of Somalia after condemning our Rangers to die because shipping armor to support them was politically icky and the dead merited no cost to their betrayers. But boy was there a good movie in it later.

And so we woke up, surprised, shocked, and hurt on September 11 to the enormity of the cost of our fecklessness. And though we do not want to admit it to ourselves, we know, in our heart of hearts, that we are ultimately responsible for our lack of preparedness. So we salve our consciences with cash to the families.

But why are the WTC victims paid more than the Pentagon victims? The Pentagon casualties participation in the military make them less innocent. We expect that men in uniform will die in war and do not feel so shamed when it happens.

This is also a partial explanation why our allies' advice to accept a new normalcy, that terrorist strikes will happen and that we will periodically have to bury our dead strikes us so badly. We're viscerally unwilling to consider it. This is not only because in the end it's a bad idea (and it is) but also because we, in our hearts, think we failed our countrymen and are unwilling to live with the idea of failing again.

A sole product of BruceR and Jantar Mantar Communications, and affiliated contributors. Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's half-informed viewpoint on the world.