H.L. Mencken once said “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Ronald Reagan once opined that “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.'”
They were both right, and the recent Kung Flu issue has certainly proved it. Excerpt:
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York posted last week in his Daily Memo some interesting data that tells us a lot about Americans’ attitudes about their government. He tracked a long-term Fox News survey in which respondents are asked which message they would send the government if they had the chance: “lend me a hand” or “leave me alone.”
Over the course of the last decade, only in August 2020 did a majority (57%) say it would ask for government help. In that same poll, 36% said “leave me alone.”
This year, however, the numbers were flipped – 47% said “leave me alone” while 44% still wanted aid.
In some years, the results showed a strong distrust of government. For instance, in 2014, 59% wanted to be free of the state while a mere 32% wished for help. In February 2016, the beginning of the last year of the Obama era, the numbers were 54-39 in favor of the “leave me alone” group.
Interesting, as it seems that the amount of Americans who favor the “leave me alone” outlook seems to be in proportion to how much the government is interfering with their daily lives. The the ‘rona has illustrated nothing else, it has illustrated just how awful overbearing nanny-state government can be.
But what is truly striking are the results from the last two surveys. After a large majority of Americans wanted the government to step in last year, no doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a fairly significant shift back this year to a yearning for independence.
Why? There can be no doubt Americans were lent a hand in 2020 and 2021, and they got it good and hard, to borrow a portion of one of American journalist Henry Louis Mencken’s more famous comments. Politicians panicked, petty tyrants exercised unearned authority, and this country suffered in ways few could have ever imagined.
Meanwhile, government “experts” lied, obfuscated, and contradicted themselves. As early as January of this year, long before the Delta variant set off another round of mask mandates and spiteful threats of more lockdowns, the Edelman Trust Barometer found that 57% of the country believed “government leaders” were “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
Watching this unfold over the course of more than a year, Americans became fed up with government’s incompetence, fearmongering, failures, and inclination to rob us of our liberties. The pandemic responses from elected and unelected officials across the country uncovered an uncomfortable fact much of the political class has wanted to keep hidden: Governments are not made up of angels, but of flawed men and women, many following personal and political agendas, and still more who are simply unfit to be in any position of authority.
The power of government – the power to compel – always seems to attract those that are the least trustworthy to wield that power. The current administration is marked by a level of incompetence and outright, unapologetic, blatant corruption hitherto unheard of. Just look at Crackhead Hunter’s “art career”, a shameless piece of money-laundering that would make the Clintons blush with embarrassment (that they didn’t think of it first.)
The pandemic, of course, has resulted in a power grab by all levels of government like nothing we have ever seen. The CDC issuing a blanket eviction moratorium? Under what authority? The CDC has zero authority to make any such pronouncement, much less to enforce it with criminal penalties, and yet here we are; the levels of outrage from the political Right, who supposedly are in opposition to such power grabs, has been decidedly underwhelming.
And as for our fellow Americans? Well, they may tell pollsters that they would prefer that government leave them alone – but then, over great swaths of the country, they insist on voting for parties and politicians that most assuredly will not leave them alone.
I’ve often said that I’d like to see the state of government here revert to about the 1800 level. But hell, at this point I’d settle for partying like it’s 1999.