After her victory in the California republican primary, Carly Fiorina said this to her supporters:
Together, we will replace Boxer, take Washington back, make it listen, and make it work.
Though well-intentioned, Fiorina's statement reveals a serious flaw at the heart of present-day conservatism.
The flaw is this: We think that in order to solve our problems, we need to win elections, get hold of government, and fix it. But this is an impossibility, because government cannot be fixed.
Contrary to what Carly Fiorina says, you cannot make government listen to the people. It goes against its nature. Government preys on people: It takes away their money and it takes away their freedoms. This is what every government does. The bigger the government, the worse things are. The United States has the biggest and most intrusive government in its history, which is why things are so bad right now.
In his 1980 inaugural address, Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem." Most conservatives agree in the abstract, but we have never fully internalized Reagan's dictum. Deep down, we still believe that government can work for us, if only we throw the bums out.
This is a vain hope, which is why we always end up so frustrated. Conservatives prevailed in 1994, 2000, and in 2004. And what was the result? Those who replaced bums later became bums themselves. This is because they became part of Leviathan, and Leviathan loves to chew up its would-be reformers. It then spits them out as supporters.
We keep making the same error over and over again. "If only we get the right people into government, they will solve this country's problems," we say. Such people do not exist. Nobody can make government work; government only creates problems. Everything government touches turns to ashes sooner or later. As Reagan said, government is the problem.
Boehner and Co. speak the right words now, but this is only because they are out of power. When they were in power, they were spending like mad. Do you remember Medicare Plan D? We are paying through the nose for it now. It was the Republicans' idea. They grew government more than Bill Clinton did. Why should we trust them now to do the right thing? They have already showed us what they are made of -- they have no principles as far as limited government is concerned.
This is not to say that they are bad men. They are just like the rest of us: weak and corruptible. I do not think most of us would fare much better if we were in their position. To resist Leviathan's guile takes the strength of characters that only few have. This is why politicians should never hold great power. They should certainly not hold any power over the income and property of others. If they do, they invariably use it as a means for personal enrichment and empowerment. The Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about human fallibility, hence their insistence on limited governmental powers.
We should not be sending people to Washington to fix America's big government. We should be sending them there to dismantle it. We will never be well again until we realize that Leviathan cannot be tamed. It must be slain. You fix government by dismantling it, not by reforming it.
Practically, this means stripping the federal government of all the unconstitutional powers it has usurped over the years. It does not mean cutting a bit around the edges. This, however, is what conservative politicians mean when they say that we need "cut government down to size."
We are praying for another Reagan. But Reagan did not fix the problem. He did cut government, but not enough. Not long after he left office, Leviathan was back, roaring with a vengeance. Today, the American federal government is bigger than ever. Reagan clipped Leviathan's wings, but did not drive a stake through its heart. This must be done -- otherwise, Leviathan will devour us.
Some months ago, a national talk show host said that when we get the government back, we will use it to pay liberals back for the pain they have inflicted on our side. This is surely a dangerous way of thinking. Using government to get back at leftists will only further expand government. We are not here to exact revenge; we are here to do what is good and right. And the right thing is to keep dismantling big government whenever we can.
Government will never serve the people. It only rewards its keepers and assorted parasites. In America they are elected officials, bureaucrats, and various special interests. Those ones are doing well. They enjoy plenty even though the rest of us are hard-pressed. They have jobs and perks and cash. Their plenty comes from the sweat of the productive. But it is still not enough for them. They complain that the productive do not pay their fair share, and they tell them to tighten their belts. Leviathan, however, never tightens its own belt.
This travesty does not need to get reformed. It must be ended. We need to get serious about the Constitution. Leviathan must be slain.