What was the concept of the U.S. government when it was created? That it’s our servant — we’re in charge of it. The president serves at our pleasure. So the president trying to lead us is like your butler dictating your agenda for the day. What would you do if your butler tried that? That’s right: You’d lock him in a small room in the wine cellar for a couple of days to teach him his place. Yet somehow we not only put up with the president trying to lead us, but we’ve come to expect it.
Related, Jeff Goldstein on two visions of government:
Either you believe the government owns you, and therefore you owe it tribute which it will then, in its wisdom, distribute as it sees fit; or you believe you own the government, and that while you keep more of your money and the fruits of your labour and allow the bureaucracies to molest you less, the federal government can learn to make do with what we decide to give it in revenue. And if that means, for instance, Big Bird or Planned Parenthood or solar energy companies have to compete in the marketplace with Cartoon Network or Wal-Mart or frakking, oil drilling, coal mining, and natural gas pipelines, then so be it.
Somewhat related, Zombie is compiling a “complete list of Barack Obama’s scandals, misdeeds, crimes and blunders.” It’s an ongoing crowd-sourced project so submissions are welcome.
And from the vaults, Heather Mac Donald on fatherhood and poverty:
The premise of the Young Men’s Initiative, like that of its predecessors, is that government has the capacity to produce upstanding, bourgeois citizens - if it just gets all its agencies to act in a coordinated fashion. […] Since Mayor Bloomberg claims to be a fan of managing by information, here are some more data for him to focus on: in the Bronx’s Mott Haven neighbourhood in 2009, 84 percent of births were to unmarried women, according to city health statistics, followed by Brownsville, Brooklyn, at 81.2 percent; Hunts Points, the Bronx, at 80.4 percent; and Morrisania, the Bronx, at 79.1 percent. East Tremont (the Bronx), Bushwick (Brooklyn), and East New York (Brooklyn) all had out-of-wedlock birth rates well above 70 percent. Compare those with the rates in largely white neighbourhoods, such as Battery Park (6.8 percent), the Upper East Side (7.9 percent), and Murray Hill (8.6 percent).
The breakdown of the family lies behind all other urban dysfunction. Until marriage is restored as the norm for child-rearing in the inner city, black and Hispanic crime rates and education failure will continue to be disproportionate. No government programme can possibly compensate for the absence of fathers in the home and the absence of the cultural expectation that men will be responsible for their children. […] The mayor is eager to talk about marriage for gays and lesbians, but he cannot bring himself to use the word when it comes to black and Hispanic heterosexual couples.
But hey, let’s do what Laurie Penny says instead. Yes, “fuck marriage,” “fuck monogamy” and fuck all of those other “small ugly ambitions.” Because, rather like Laurie herself, it’s all so incredibly radical and defiant. Just don’t look too closely at the practical results.
Speaking of practical results, or the denial thereof, let’s not overlook the bewildered educator Grover Furr. A Professor of Medieval English and a devout Marxist, Furr has been mentioned here before and readers may recall his indignation at the fact that a few non-leftists still have the temerity to remain in the humanities, despite the professor’s wishes for ideological purity. Well, it seems our unhinged academic is still sharing his wisdom with students.
Feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.