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May 9, 2006

New Hampshire, etc.

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

IN THIS ISSUE:

* A New Hampshire report (including a debatable proposition)
* An important point
* Coming attractions
* We were wrong

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Sorry for this late report on what happened with REAL ID in the New Hampshire Senate. The Downsize DC staff is experiencing a bit of a traffic jam. Too much is happening at once. But here we go . . .

We didn’t lose and we didn’t win. The New Hampshire Senate voted 14 to 9 to study the issue further before reaching a final decision. We’ll revisit this again after they’re finished “studying.” Meanwhile . . .

A comment from one of the Senators, Jack Barnes, provokes a few comments from us. Barnes says he is willing to give up some of his rights in a time of war. Please note . . .

Barnes’s willingness to give up some of his rights also means forcing others in New Hampshire to give up their rights. How thoughtful of him.

Rights given up because of temporary conditions that prevail at one time, tend to remain gone long after those conditions no longer prevail. Incurring permanent costs to pay for temporary benefits (assuming there are any benefits) is a bad deal. Finally . . .

A DEBATABLE proposition:

We are not at war. Being at war implies a threat of conquest, in one direction or another. Instead . . .

America was attacked by a criminal gang. Trying to catch that criminal gang is not a war.

Invading Iraq was a war. That war ended when Hussein was deposed. We are now engaged in a police action in which different criminal gangs (would-be statesmen?) appear to be spending nearly as much time attacking each other as they spend attacking our troops. Police shooting at gangsters is not a war. It is a deadly business, but not a war. We are not trying to overthrow a government in Iraq, and Iraq is not trying to invade us.

We face a gang problem, not a war problem.

END OF DEBATABLE PROPOSITION:

Perhaps you disagree. Okay. Maybe you’re right. Maybe we are at war. Words can be funny things, meaning different things at different times. And that’s the point. If it’s possible to understate the dangers posed by a “war,” it’s also possible to overstate them. And politicians tend to do both on a regular basis. The problem is that “war” seems to be one of those magic words that politicians can use to mean anything, and justify everything. When a politician says “war,” beware.

Senator Barnes seems to assume that REAL ID would accomplish something positive, because we are supposedly at war. This assumption further assumes that evidence doesn’t matter. And the evidence is that Big Government doesn’t work. Big Government is incompetent.

FEMA doesn’t work (Think New Orleans and constantly spending money to rebuild in flood plains). The CIA doesn’t work (Think non-existent “weapons of mass destruction,” and seriously overestimating the strength of the Soviet Union). The FBI doesn’t work (Think Waco, Ruby Ridge, lab scandals, and 9-11). The Pentagon doesn’t work (Think “too few troops to do too big a job,” and $500 hammers). And Big Government pseudo-wars don’t work either, be they wars on poverty, drugs, illiteracy, or anything else. The only kind of wars our Big Government seems competent to fight are real wars against other Big Governments.

This is an important point.

Our Big Government can win wars against other Big Governments because all Big Governments are equally incompetent. We have an edge in such wars because our incompetent Big Government is supported by a highly competent FREE SOCIETY. We are surrendering that edge by making Big Government bigger-and-bigger, and ourselves less-and-less free. REAL ID is just another step in that direction.

The real problem we face is that terrorist gangs are more akin to small, efficient, entrepreneurial firms, than they are to Big Government. And you don’t fight such entities by getting bigger and more bloated. You fight them by getting lean, mean, and focused — the very opposite of what we are actually doing.

The correct assumption, given the evidence, is that REAL ID will be to the “war on terrorism” what FEMA is to disaster relief. A disaster. Providing no relief.

How do you spell relief? Downsize DC.

COMING ATTRACTIONS:

We mentioned that we’re busy. That we have a traffic jam. It’s true. New campaigns are coming, including a new approach to REAL ID. The MeetUp groups for RTBA are also coming. We’ve finished the programming to support these groups, and we hope to launch this week. We hope. If we can manage the traffic jam. Stay tuned.

WE WERE WRONG:

We said we fell short on our funding needs last month. We were wrong. There was a check sitting in the mailbox that put us over the top. But we are behind for May. If you would like to contribute or start a monthly pledge to keep us moving forward, you can do so here.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer!

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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