A High School Level Argument for Slow Government


James Madison

Jean-Jacques Rousseau said that governments derive their power from the will of the people. James Madison (above) designed the US government to move slowly to ensure that will was obeyed.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of people say that our government is “broken” because it hasn’t been able to accomplish anything meaningful over the last few months. Unfortunately, it looks like some confusion exists between what it means to have a broken government and a slow one.

We’ve seen broken government before. In 2010, a liberal congress and president passed a healthcare bill the American people did not want, a stimulus package the American people did not want, and created the biggest increase in federal spending ever, which – you guessed it – the American people did not want. That’s a real broken government. Even though it moved at breakneck speed, the Democrats failed to do what they were elected to do – fix the economy! Instead, they played around with expensive big-government experiments and the American taxpayer’s credit card.

This kind of blatant disregard of the volonté générale,  the people’s will, constitutes a breach of the “social contract.”  The social contract is an unspoken agreement which says that since the government gets its power to rule from the people, it has to respect the will of the people in return. When the Left broke the contract in 2010, the American people revolted, electing one of the most conservative House classes in decades.

Suddenly, our government slammed on the brakes. Nothing was getting done. The Republicans in the House were “obstructionists,” “roadblocks,” or “the problem,” according to the media.

Good, that’s exactly what the people wanted.

Americans voted to slow things down. A slow government makes fewer irrational decisions. It has to think about everything, debate everything, and vet everything it signs into law. No one vetted the Obamacare bill, for example – Nancy Pelosi even infamously said “We’ll have to pass it so you can find out what’s in it.” Do you think the Democrats could have gotten away with passing such a dysfunctional bill with the GOP in control of a chamber of congress?

You see, slow government isn’t broken government. Government is broken when it  disobeys the will of the people it works for, and more often than not, a fast government can do more damage than a slow one in this way. A deliberate government is much more likely to respect the will of the people. To twist an old quote by Thomas Paine, you could even say “that which governs best, governs slowly.”

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Posted in The Modern Conservative
2 comments on “A High School Level Argument for Slow Government
  1. Mr. C says:

    There is a difference between obstructionism and uniting in opposition to a single issue. I, personally, think Obamacare will be beneficial to our country, but I can see how a very large percentage would think it not the best move. In fact, I would say the republicans were totally making the right call on unanimously going against something against their beliefs that was of that magnitude. It was a move that would create a bigger government, and due to the scope of that bill, I could see where the republicans were coming from in their decision to vote against something so contrary to their political ideology. But Jesus fucking Christ. Is it necessary to fully unite in opposition with little to no compromise for bills of lesser magnitude? No, not really. The democrats did the exact same thing when Bush was in office and they had the House majority if I recall correctly, and it was just as dumb then as it is now. It’s a very arrogant statement to fully believe oneself to have the ONLY correct answer, especially on issues involving fiscal and social policy. I can see fully uniting against a policy 100% contrary to one’s own views IF that policy is designed such that any compromise would not make the policy tolerable or favorable AND the policy was very encompassing. And arguing that because the people voted republicans in, they then believe that the people agree with EVERY stance republicans take is just completely, wholly, and entirely false. I shouldn’t even have to back that point up.

    • I agree with most of what you said, believe it or not. I especially think Republicans made a HUUUGE mistake when they didn’t take the nearly $4trillion entitlement cuts Democrats were offering to raise the debt ceiling. But I also understand that they promised constituents they would oppose an increases, and they were doing what they were supposed to do. Maybe the problem is with the electorate and not the elected?

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