The American Way of Life (Part 24 of 28)

Part 24: of a 28-part series

We just want to follow the money – our money. It’s kept pretty close to the fact where local affairs are concerned. And in this there’s a political trade of no small government. We’re not politically trained. We used to be politically trained. We need to be. We need to reason politically, or (as I call it) reason governmentally. This is basic to all, whether we are on the left or right. There are principles of good policy.

We want to remind ourselves that bad people can make good policy, and good people can make bad policy. In the kind of discussion which it provokes, [there’s] the necessity of facing argument with argument, and keeping one’s temper under control. That’s wonderful training, isn’t it? Now that’s real political training. The town meeting is the best political training school in existence.

[There was] a period of earnest and sometimes stormy discussion that ushered in the Revolutionary War. Our Revolutionary War did not come as an explosion. It came after over 10 years of debate among 13 separate colonies, until they could not come to any other conclusion than that independence was their only hope from slavery, from tyranny.

In those days great principles of government were discussed. We need to discuss those principles of government again. “We base all our experience on the capacity of mankind for self-government” (James Madison). And so, we gave the power we delegate to representatives. They are specific. They have a specific job description. And we divide it so we can keep the state separate from the nation. There’s what the nation does, which is very general and minimal, and we keep the rest for ourselves. We keep our internal business to ourselves. We mind our own business. And we don’t let anyone else mind our own business. It’s none of their business, that’s why. It’s not their business.

To be continued…