No matter who gets elected, the government always gets in.
— Old saying among voluntaryists
By David Tulis
The contest between federal legislator Chuck Fleischmann and challenger Weston Wamp promises the usual harangues to keep in place — as with an overused superglue — the structure of national politics.
The adhesive of federal favor-mongering is effective for small projects (holding an SUV 30 feet off the ground) but not large ones (keeping together a skyscraper whose steel beam welds have melted). Even if every member of the federal house of representatives had the conservative credentials of Messrs. Wamp and Fleischmann, the pending national financial disaster could not be averted. Even if barrages of unanimous votes favoring the free market and less government were hurtled into the U.S. code , the prospects for a national economy turnaround are flaccid.
Mr. Wamp, 26, stands next to his wife, Shelby, in downtown Chattanooga to announce his campaign — the publicist seeking to oust the lawyer.
He says Americans “have no control over our government if we don’t have a choice at the ballot box and I believe voters deserve a choice. *** America is too great for this Congress to continue to divide our nation and avoid [its] responsibilities. I want to give the Third District an independent conservative voice and a reason to believe our government can still work and serve the people.”
Mr. Wamp says Mr. Fleischmann hasn’t done enough in congress. “This congress is the least productive and least popular in our nation’s history and for three years now, Chuck Fleischmann has simply gone along with the flow. He has done nothing to change Washington, nor has he been effective as a legislator on behalf of our District. Fleischmann and the 113th congress have given up on our country and failed to govern.”
Mr. Wamp wants you to believe that a federal representative is able to affect change in the nation-state, a corporation that exists apart from any given congress, president or judiciary — apart from any particular government. He wants his listeners to suppose he will represent them in congress to the federal government.
He does not represent to you to them, but them to you. Knave? Probably not. Naif? Maybe.
Congress is good if it is busy, if it “serves the people” and “works” for them, Mr. Wamp proposes. Congress is good when it is “productive.” Columnist Roy Exum of Chattanoogan.com blasts Mr. Fleischmann for ducking out during President Obama’s Chatttanooga visit and for not having “enacted one law in four years” and having introduced only four bills. I remind Mr. Exum no congressman can enact a law; that barony contributes to the enactment of laws that must pass the senate and be inked by the chief executive. And possibly Mr. Fleischmann was doing something important — like dirtying up his hands changing his oil.
Mr. Wamp has many things in his favor. He is involved in capital creation for local economy in Chattanooga, working for Lamp Post Group to unite mid-level investors with businesses in the region. Brief position statements on his westonwamp.com suggest a political viewpoint consistent with the free market ethic of Christianity, of which he is a professing member. In press statements Mr. Fleischmann cites constituent service as his forte — 242,872 responses, calls and letters sent to constituents — in addition to pro-life, pro-gun and pro-free market positions. Of course, he is hostile to Obamacare.
Making a difference — is it possible?
The accusations by Mr. Fleischmann of his rival’s ambition and the claim by Mr. Wamp of the incumebent’s passivity and ineptitude will cover familiar ground until November. Neither of the candidates will admit one increasingly evident claim, that of the unfixability of the federal system, even by conservatives. The liberal progressive Democrat-party statists cannot avoid the credit-crisis debacle ahead. The supposedly free enterprisers of the Grand Old Party cannot, either.
“Conservatives are masters at projecting a preachy devotion to a limited state, democracy, liberty and free enterprise while their support of the Central State undermines every one of these values,” says Charles Hugh Smith, an important analyst whose website I follow. “Conservatives are like the preacher who issues stern sermons on righteousness every Sunday while skimming big money from pimping sordid, destructive policies Monday through Saturday.
“Conservatives claim to want to limit the Central State, but their slavish support of Medicare, Social Security, the Pentagon, the National Security State, the Federal Reserve (and thus interest on the national debt), farm subsidies to Big Ag, law enforcement and the War on Drugs Gulag means they support virtually 100% of the Central State’s unlimited powers. Their proposed ‘cuts’ are farcically tiny slices designed for propaganda purposes — out of $4 trillion federal budget, conservatives preach ‘austerity’ while leaving the Empire and their crony-capitalist cartels entirely intact.”
Mr. Wamp, in a statement about the military, hovers near incoherence. “We cannot and should not be the world’s police force, but there are times when the United States of America has an obligation to protect and defend freedom and human dignity when others will not.” He is not a noninterventionist, though he tries to sound like one by saying the federal military is overextended.
But Mr. Smith notes that even ostensible support of conservatives for national defense is a facade for favors to defense industry constituents.
“Conservatives are against Big Government except when Big Government benefits their constituencies,” Mr. Smith says.
Boost the Pentagon budget by 10% a year, rain or shine, to counter every possible threat to the Empire, boost the National Security State (Homeland Security, NSA, etc.) every year, boost the War on Drugs Gulag annually, leave Medicare, Social Security and interest on the national debt as sacrosanct, and guess what — you’ve created a self-liquidating monster State.
Behind their preachy facade, conservatives have turned democracy into an auction of political favors. As they belly up to the limitless trough of central State revenues and power, conservatives have embraced the auction as the true mechanism of governance: banking statutes are written by banking lobbyists and then signed into law.
Messrs. Wamp and Fleischmann seek public service in a legislature that has rendered itself impotent by not jealously guarding its constitutional prerogatives. Regardless of their goodwill and fine intentions, they are squabbling to represent us to them. Inevitably they will come to represent them to us. They will be helpless to change congress, but face being changed by it to the defender of a financially and morally untenable status quo, as Mr. Smith describes it single-mindedly in his work.
Why local economy matters
At least one person has suggested to me the arguments for local economy are not as strong or as many-pronged as I think. Perhaps I am wrong, but local economy involves physical real people, providing relationships and prosperity in the context of a given locale; it enjoys being small. Local economy as an idea seems virile, proud and capable compared to the national economy, overseen by Republicans and Democrats.
The flaccidity is in national economy. Its prospects are limp. He survives by the artificial stimulation of politics. It hangs on through effusions of ideasphere money from the central bank. Do you know taxpayers paid nearly F$175 million for penis pumps — vacuum erection systems — in a five-year period through 2011? The devices are doled out under Medicare Part B in a durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies competitive bidding program.
The shocker is that the 473,620 units paid for by the Department of Health and Human Services cost double the going rate for erection enhancers, an inspector general’s report said.
I’ll go with local economy and constitutional government any day.
“Taxpayers Paid Nearly $175M for Penis Pumps Between 2006 and 2011,” The Washington Free Beacon, Jan. 14, 2014
Charles Hugh Smith, “Pimping the Empire, Conservative Style,” Oftwominds.com, Jan. 8, 2014
Carl Watner and Wendy McElroy, eds, Dissenting Electorate[;] Those Who Refuse to Vote and the Legitimacy of their Opposition (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarand & Co. Inc., Publishers, 2001), 134 pp