After Obama: The Coming Reign of Incredibly Small Government
A national election always triggers an onslaught of political books claiming that the next several decades will belong to the party which just swept into power. These books are laughably wrong, usually being discarded and discredited by the next election night. This election is no different, and books are being finished right now which explain why events in history will be marked henceforth as Before Obama and After Obama. There are other books being edited currently which will be the obituary of the GOP, claiming that Barack Obama killed the great elephant on his way back from killing Osama bin Laden. The byproducts of both responses to the 2012 election will in short order be discarded, but for reasons far outside politics.
The future is dramatically conservative, in a very uncomfortable and dark way. This conservative future is inevitable -- not because of political events, but because of societal trajectory. If political events are man taking flight, the conservative future is characteristically similar to gravity.
The governing assumptions, reflected in the electoral outcomes of 2012, are of total collapse. The magnitude of government and the trajectory of culture have created a Leviathan State of such girth that it has escaped the control of self-governing people and can be tamed only by the realities of nature asserting itself again.
Such is the size and audacity of present government that in accounting terms it is documented in quantities of trillions -- a number rightly reserved for astrophysics. Trillion, though mathematically sentient, is a number divorced from human experience and thus comprehension. Government measured in units such as these can be discussed in terms and under conditions roughly equivalent to stories of science fiction. It is as useful to propose jiggling about tax rates in this realm as it would be to debate the chance that a Jedi swinging a light saber could overcome a Klingon wielding a photon-torpedo.
Likewise, our politics has devolved into something of a nerd-convention, and is it any wonder that in such a crowd, a guy like Obama comes off as the coolest guy ever? There was even a campaign commercial this past election which equated voting for Obama with losing your virginity to a cool upperclassman. Sometimes history mocks us.
Since Tuesday night, after half the population gave their virginity up to the coolest guy at Comic-Con D.C., the realities of nature have begun to assert themselves aggressively. It was euphoric to sway to the hope-'n'-change remix album in Chicago, safe in the knowledge that Mitt Romney would not be installing government surveillance in your uterus, nor would there be any national debate over taxes or spending reductions -- but the realities of the present were only briefly bowing to the hope of the moment. When the lights went up, we were reminded that there is an event coming in January referred to as the Fiscal Cliff which will need attending to, after Congress raises the debt ceiling, which will be required for the government to keep the lights on at Christmastime.
ObamaCare kicks in between those two events; at present, it is almost three times its original cost estimate, but we'll know more cost details after it actually takes effect. Germany now wants an independent auditor to get a peek at the Federal Reserves books and audit the gold in Fort Knox, as the Germans are currently unable to get a clear picture of just how bad things are from the recently re-elected administration. Speaking of gold, the State of Texas is in the process of repatriating its gold from the Fed, just feeling the need to have some protection in the Lone Star State. Other states probably won't follow suit.
This briefest of lists is but a glimpse of what the laws of nature have in store for our Republic. For some time now, a compelling argument has been made that modern life requires a government similar in size and enthusiasm to what we currently have -- if this was morally justifiable, the laws of nature would make it numerically possible. The morality of such a government can be established only within a cultural science fiction, where trillions are commonplace and the nerd with the glowing sword gets the hot girl with the buns over her ears. Back on earth, light sabers are plastic toys, hot women don't search for mates at Comic-Con, and trillionaire levels of government are impossible.
The numbers, though they exist, are unable to continue as a governing feature of life. To be in defiance of laws of nature is perfectly possible when there is a cutoff date of November, but it is tragically problematic if your society is to exist sometime beyond the Election Day after-party.
The future is one of incredibly small government -- not in the virtuous, self-reliant Republic sort of way, but in the tragic "government crashes into the January fiscal cliff and explodes" sort of way. The grand programs instituted under the guise of moral superiority will abruptly end amongst the shrapnel of audacious government meeting the rocky cliffs of nature's reality. If entitlements and social programs are tinkered with to conform to budget realities, it is cheap and easy to condemn them as mean or racist or some such thing within the political arena. If these programs stop abruptly because they have been purposefully grown to ridiculously unsustainable levels, those who refused to scale back well-intentioned programs when offered the chance will be responsible for the primitive violence engulfing our cities. The new and less noble beasts prowling the once-peaceful streets will be the creation of insane spending and decades of dishonest and vain politics.
The government which was recently confirmed by popular election is not only flippantly severed from reality, but morally indefensible. It is a vain attempt to alter the natural laws and limitations of our planet to conform to the audacious greed which has lain dormant within mankind from birth. In defiance of the virtues which separate humans from the beasts of the fields, we have willingly re-primativized our culture into an animalistic state of consumption where once thrift, industry and self-control made us human. We have stood athwart nature believing that we could, in perpetuity, be both noble and avaricious, endlessly pleasured and unquestionably safe.
With irony, the week of the election, nature asserted itself on the northeastern portion of the country -- reminding us that there are real limits to the ability for humans to insulate themselves from the consequences of the natural world. Post-election -- A.O., if you will -- there is a similar reality of nature just as eager to assert itself as was Hurricane Sandy. America gave it away to the really cool guy, but his mother is about to walk in and break up the sophomoric love-fest. That guy isn't quite so cool when big momma nature grabs him by the ears and lets him have it, and you are left feeling quite foolish for what you lost in the misguided passion as you watch him be dragged away. Just as it wasn't true love, this past election was not a grand statement of moral superiority -- it was a moment of science fiction transfigured into real life.
It is unclear when or by what event the laws of nature will assert themselves again, but it will be soon. In that moment, the grandeur of being a sophisticated liberal will give way to the humility of living under a suddenly very small government. Many will be caught playing with their light-sabers, wondering where Lady Liberty went.
Andrew K. Boyle writes from a gulch, hidden in the mountains of Colorado. He is the author of The Courage to Rebel: breaking a corrupt system, available at amazon.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewkboyle.