June 21, 2013

In Defense of a Gridlocked and Unproductive Congress

By In Politics

“We the people” are represented in congress by “our” senators and congressmen. I put “we the people” in quotations because I do not like collectivism and also because a small group of people cannot logically represent the competing interests of a larger number of people. I put “our” in quotation marks because they are not really “ours.” They belong to the big lobbyists who pay them. It is probably more accurate to say that we are theirs. Congress is a branch of the State. The State, to use Rothbard’s terminology, is “the organization of robbery systematized and writ large.”

Congress acts to achieve certain ends. These ends are purchased with money that was first produced by the market, and then taken by the IRS. Congress has certain ends in mind that might not have been pursued without their presence (think war). Even if those ends were to be pursued without congress, they would have been pursued by a different group of people (think USPS). Therefore, the distribution of resources and capital is necessarily different when it is done by the State.

Congress sees the political environment as a problem. There is the Red Team and there is the Blue Team. They both have sets of powerful interest groups and they both have sets of differing goals in their time in office. There is a difference in which power groups they represent. But there is no difference as to whether or not they represent a power group. This is what the libertarians (small l) mean when they say there is no difference between the parties.

Things happen in congress only when one team can out vote or out lobby the other team. These teams are constantly at battle. Therefore, they are always in conflict. And there are hundreds of jokes about the fact that “nothing ever gets done.” They are so “unproductive.” “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?”

Well I am defending this “gridlock” in the sense that, if they were to always get what they want, if there was no fight, things would always get done. They would steal more effectively, spend more harmfully, regulate us more proficiently, and squeeze every last ounce of freedom from our bones. But today, they have to move slowly. Because the other party is always ready for attack.

Gridlock is good. Overcoming gridlock is bad. Gridlock is the reason why we are not yet a Soviet Union. The State has a natural tendency for expanding. We don’t want them to progress toward this condition. Ideally, if the Federal Government does exist, there would be not progression because the Constitution limits the ability of the State to creep into the lives of the citizens. This Constitution no longer exists. Therefore the only thing that is on the side of the people is gridlock. And Ron Paul. But he never compromised so he is the definition of gridlock. Maybe this is why so many people love him. Or hate him.

Rothbard:

“Who wants good people in government? Good people should be in the private sector. Helping us out, helping themselves out in the private sector. We want schmoes in government. We want people who can’t find the doorknob. Why waste productive people, as well as looting the taxpayer?”

When congress can’t make a decision, I cheer. Yes the outcome will be awful. It always is. But at least the State is not working at twice the speed. Can you even imagine? We’d all be dead.

Or worse, we’d be serfs.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com