Under Siege -- And Staggering

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The American population totals approximately 321.3 million people and, in the modern interconnected world, it constitutes a success like none other in history. The product of an experiment almost two hundred and fifty years old, these 321 million Americans thrive atop an envied economy, within a cherished democratic republic, and free from the internecine tribal and sectarian clashes ravaging other regions. Peaceful and prosperous, American citizens are not only a source of inspiration, they are also the object of envy and enmity. More pointedly, despite borders unbreached by an enemy force or liberties unabridged by an authoritarian government, the American public should make no mistake -- it is under siege. Even its ostensibly compassionate presiding elite is a constant source of torment. American civilization, like all other civilizations, has a tempo, but equally important, civilizational decline is a choice. A choice of leadership may be all American citizens have to preclude decline.

A Government Hostile To The People

The occasion for alarm is not one of the usual indicators followed by historians. The future of the country has not been imperiled by loss in a war or an inability to compete economically. America failed to achieve its objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq and the People’s Republic of China supplanted it as the world’s largest economy in December 2014, but nettlesome economic and security challenges, as frustrating and intractable as they seem, do not existentially threaten the security and prosperity of the United States.

No, the cause for concern is the mundane matter of governance.

In successive years, the revelation of governmental shortcomings have shifted from mere incompetence to outright malfeasance -- even belligerence -- against the very population it superficially serves.

In 2013, the American public learned its telecommunications was the subject massive warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency.

Later in 2013, the Internal Revenue Service acknowledged it had harassed political groups opposed to the incumbent Administration’s agenda.

In 2014, whistleblowers alerted the American public to mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs which had left over 100,000 veterans without adequate care.

Governmental incompetence is not new -- but the scope and scale is.

In June 2015, the Office of Personnel and Management revealed 4 million federal government employee records in its databases had been hacked. The next month, OPM raised the estimated number of hacked employee records to 21 million, making it the largest such hack in U.S. history. Given the number of government employees, the hack affected approximately 1 in 15 Americans.

Undeterred, the response of incumbent officeholders is the same -- a disavowal of responsibility and a demand for more resources.

Despite being unable to identify the terrorist plots thwarted by warrantless surveillance, the presiding NSA director retained his post until retiring without penalty. (His counterpart, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, lied to Congress about the matter and remains in his post.)

Notwithstanding falsely asserting that incriminating emails were irretrievable, the IRS commissioner remains in place to this day.

Even though internal and external reviews showed OPM had mismanaged information technology investments amid continually increasing budgets, the OPM director insisted the problem required greater funding.

Tragically, governmental incompetence now has a body count.

Returning to the Veterans Affairs scandal, a recently leaked internal document provided to the Huffington Post revealed more than 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending applications for health care have already died.

The number of soldiers lost in battle since 1945 totals only 87,053.

Proponents of government-provided services (sometimes) make a persuasive argument the private sector lacks the capacity or the incentive to provide certain public goods.

According to the argument, only the government can provide services without succumbing to the temptations introduced by free market competition. Furthermore, government service providers can be bound by performance expectations in line with the public good. One component of the argument tsks tsks the private sector for being selfishly motivated only by profits.

In stark contrast, the VA scandal (again) gives lie to these arguments.

Instead of expeditiously caring for the servicemembers who sacrificed their bodies and minds on the battlefield, VA bureaucrats dithered, allowing veterans to sit on ever longer waiting lists. When failure to meet performance metrics threatened their jobs and the time came to take the initiative, they moved diligently not to remedy the circumstances aggravating the wait lists, but to falsify the record of their performance. In the aftermath, the number of VA personnel held accountable and dismissed has been insultingly low.

Few things demonstrate selfishness as bureaucrats hustling to falsify their performance instead of actually helping the individuals they swore to serve.

Few things underscore the hypocrisy of serving the public good than government employee unions closing ranks against their fellow citizens’ demands to be held accountable for their performance.

Liberalism is not the solution to the problem of governance; liberalism is the problem

Liberals proudly take the side of big government and the individuals manning the bureaucracies, but, in the same fashion as the bureaucratic heads, rarely hold themselves to account for their erroneous enthusiasm.

American humorist P.J. O’Rourke once pithily noted conservatives claim government doesn't work and then go out and prove it. In light of the above scandals, the quip might be appended to turn the liberal critique on capitalism on them -- liberals claim man is selfish and then their representatives go out and prove it.

Humourous putdowns aside, the consequences of liberalism in the form of big government are deleterious, but they will be dwarfed by their bid to “fundamentally transform” America.

At present, the American liberal left is undertaking the whitewashing of history (see Confederate vestiges, removal of), the evisceration of dissent (see homophobic and racist, depiction of all opponents as), and the purposeful Balkanization of the American population (see American creed, dismantling of fealty to; and, illegal immigration, refusal to secure the border to prevent).

The left’s political vehicle, the Democratic Party, is a lost cause. Hillary Clinton, the wife of a triangulating former President William Clinton, may be the nominee-in-waiting, but she’s a brittle frontrunner who choked under the onslaught of a progressive last time around and its partisans are giving considerable attention to a self-declared democratic socialist. (The Democratic Party is even turning on its 19th century founders, moving to drop Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from their signature events.)

As previously noted, the Republican Party is recently assumed its largest congressional majorities since 1929, leaving the impression voters are seemingly determined to pick up where they left off in 1928.

The perfect heir to Calvin Coolidge may never be witnessed, but the principles he espoused -- less government, federalism, fealty to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution -- and the character he demonstrated -- modesty, honesty, decency -- constitute the criteria the American voter should seek in an individual pursuing the presidency.

Inspired by Canadian writer Mark Steyn’s blogging on Greece and British writer Charles C.W. Cooke’s The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right's Future

09/03 Postscript:
On 09/02/2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General (IG) found that more than 300,000 veterans may have died before their applications for medical care filed in the enrollment system were ever reviewed. (Breitbart)

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