Slimming plan

Let us applaud sheer genius in those United States. With concealed but effective bipartisan consensus, the President & Congressmen have succeeded in the ultimate patriotic act: shutting down most of their counter-productive Government. True, there are messy bits in the arrangement. Obamacare has not been completely annihilated, & there is some confusion over national parks. But the attention to detail is otherwise superb. For instance, an arrangement was found to continue paying the military. This is wise, because unpaid soldiers can be trouble; as Harry Truman used to say, “Read your history.” And you may need them to discourage zeal in those less well armed.

It is not really a shutdown, but a “slim-down,” according to the cooler heads. “Essential services,” including the goons who mind the borders, are left in place. There’s probably room for additional savings in Homeland Security & the like. But in broad outline it would seem the U.S. Government has been downsized to what it should have been all along, in a single brilliant stroke.

Democrats generously credit the Republicans, Republicans generously credit the Democrats, for this impressive accomplishment. For years I’ve been moaning about the Nanny State. It took a century to build, I reasoned, it might take half-a-century to dismantle. But ho: the American politicians have done it in a day. I must have been wrong about them. Let me therefore praise them now, & cheer both parties to stand their ground. Keep that “slim-down” going for months, years, decades, until everyone has forgotten what the “fat-up” was about.

The histrionic reception in gliberal media is also to be celebrated. Anything that makes the devil shriek is good, & the very foulness of their language assures us that the news has not been faked. For a few weeks they may shift the polls, but the longer the slim-down can be kept in place, the more their purchase slips on public opinion.

Verily: the demonic power, alike of journalists & terrorists, depends upon the human disposition to panic. Refuse to panic, & they are suddenly enfeebled. “Fear not,” as our Lord saith.

I should salute, too, the framers of the U.S. Constitution. On our Westminster model, no slim-down could be so easily obtained in Canada, or Britain, or India, or Australia. It required the exceptional American system of “checks & balances,” in which the checks disturb the balances, & then the balances stop the checks. The Europeans might pull it off, somehow, but even they lack the constitutional means to “mutually assured destruction.” Across Asia, Africa, Latin America we find governments that would require impossibly strenuous & purposeful acts to close themselves down. Only in America (& arguably Somalia) can it be done by casual impasse.