Whatever Happened To Responsible Government?


A friend sent around one of those Internet hoaxes that I’ve seen multiple times now.  There’s a good parable at the beginning of it that’s worth repeating.

“Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

“Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

“Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.

“Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So They created two positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer, then hired two people.

“Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

“Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one Year and we are $918,000 over budget, we must cutback.” So they laid off the night watchman.


I am sorry because I don’t know whom should receive credit for that story.   The internet post goes on to tell the story of the Energy Department, how it was founded specifically to reduce the problem of dependence on foreign oil imports in the United States and how it has become a miserable failure organization that does little if anything fruitful at all for the average citizen.  That’s, unfortunately, where the problem begins with that “story” because the Energy Department was created to manage Nuclear Energy primarily, and then the nation’s power grid and to make plans for the future.  One of the agency’s corollary purposes was to deal with dependence on foreign oil imports in this country.  But you see – that’s how things get twisted and distorted and we get sidetracked on “issues” and forget that world view trumps issues every time.

Here’s what I wrote in response to that posting:

The stinging rebuke of this parable is that it does ring true about our government, and it galls us all as responsible citizens as to what ever happened to “Good” government?  In a book I’m reading by Barbara Tuchman (The Proud Tower), there is a chapter called “End of a Dream.”  It’s (this particular chapter) about America (the book is about the world as a whole prior to WWI) at the end of the 19th Century on into the start of the 20th Century, when we stopped looking “inward” for solutions to our problems (stopped seeking to isolate ourselves and concentrate on domestic issues) and instead started looking outwards (emulating the Imperialist nations of Europe and engaging in conquests of our own).  Her stated opinion is that our founding fathers never intended the US to operate in that manner, and that many felt we should have stayed an isolated “purely idealist” state.

It’s difficult to say, based on history, whether the decision was right or wrong, but it can be said that the decision led directly to the US being one of the major powers in the coming world wars.  If we had not decided to “engage” at the time we did, would the world be a much different place today?  The alternate question arises whether this is the origin of our “Big Government” that we see today, or is “Big G” more correctly attributable to FDR in his “New Deal?”  Those who believe that should be required to watch the Glenn Beck video where he shows the page after page of NEW government agencies created by the Healthcare Initiative (Obamacare).

While it may have been a Republican idea to expand outwards to supply our needs (excepting Conservatives of the time, led by Speaker of the House Thomas Reed, who were opposed to expansionist policies), it is certainly a Democrat/Liberal idea that those needs should be met for free (entitlements) – by the government!  I say this at a time when I’ve been out of work for over a year now due to a collapse in the economy precipitated by what – greed?  Corruption?  Theft?  Yes!  All of the above.  I have my doubts as to whether any one of those guilty of fraud, corruption, or outright theft (bankers who vote themselves bonuses after their banks failed and were bailed out) will ever be prosecuted and suffer jail time.

The answer today is the same as it was 2,000 years ago.  We, as followers of Jesus Christ, must be different.  We must be “in the world but not of it.”  We cannot engage in those same corrupt practices used by so many to “succeed.”  Our definition of success must be different.  As it was for Stan (a believer in our congregation who passed away recently), our success must be making it to the other side of this life as a committed servant of Jesus Christ.

I do like reading these things though, it reminds me that we must also be involved in politics.  Wherever there are 2 or more people, there’s politics, even in churches, eh?  I’m thankful our church is such a dedicated group of followers, those who seek to make a difference.  As Pastor Wes has said numerous times, the world will make us bitter or better.  We are better off with Jesus.  The difficult part is finding where to engage politics with faith.  Our founding fathers had no difficulty at all, their faith was their politics in essence.  How do we get back there?  How do we make our faith applicable to the world and not just our country?

I don’t know much.  I do know, that whatever “Responsible” Government is, we don’t have it – because it simply is not based on anything resembling a view of life that asserts God as the Creator, Author and Perfecter of our faith.

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One thought on “Whatever Happened To Responsible Government?

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