The proper role of government was defined clearly in the original Articles of Confederation. The U.S. was to be a states’ rights Federal Republic with a weak central government with few explicit duties beyond maintaining a proper militia to defend the states. Congress would meet for only part of the year. And the one-term president was to be little more than a meeting chairman. Daniel Henninger likens American government to Jabba the Hutt, and he’s right.
To call the U.S. federal government a black hole is a disservice to black holes, which have a neutral majesty. Excepting the military’s fighting units, the federal government has become a giant slug, like Jabba the Hutt, inert but dangerous. Like Jabba, the government increasingly survives by issuing authoritarian decrees from this or that agency. Barack Obama, essentially a publicist for Jabba’s world of federal fat, euphemized this mess Monday as the American people’s “democracy.”
Thomas Jefferson, who must be rolling in his grave, said the way to ensure good government was to divide it among the many. Some states and cities are indeed reworking their functions in efficient, innovative ways. But Washington is oblivious to life beyond the Beltway.