My team at work likes to do fun things to liven up our meetings. One of those things is to have participants answer a series of questions. At the start of October, a longtime coworker of mine was the first to answer this question, “If you could do anything for a day, what would you do?” He did so lightheartedly, expressing a wish to play at the Augusta National Golf Club. Golf is something he loves to do for fun.
He then picked me to answer the question at the next meeting. When I accepted, I warned everyone, “My answer is going to be quite shocking.” I wasn’t going to give the expected response of going on vacation or achieving some other fleeting fancy. I was going to do something of much more lasting consequence.
Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to express everything I wanted to on a whim, I decided to write down my answer. And now you get to read exactly what I told them. Prepare to be shocked.
If I Could Do Anything for a Day
If I could do anything, I would become the benevolent dictator of the country for a day. Then I would get rid of every federal organization, law, power, and treaty not contained in the original U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
No Social Security Administration, Federal Reserve, Department of Education, Homeland Security, NASA, SEC, FEC, ATF, EPA, IRS, CIA, FBI, NSA, or CDC, to name a few. Just the Armed Forces and the Post Office would remain. Almost all federal government employees are fired immediately and banned from federal employment in the future.
No federal income tax. No loan guarantees. No federal lands. No national parks. Everything is handled at the state level or lower. The federal government’s only role is in defending national sovereignty from foreign powers, declaring war by the Congress, negotiating international diplomacy, maintaining property rights and sound money, and arbitrating disputes between states.
Elected officials would receive no salary or benefits. And all laws would have expiration dates.
We would start with a clean slate, letting every barnacle fall by the wayside. I’d give up power at the end of the day and watch the chaos unfold as every problem got solved as locally as possible.
Not What They Were Expecting
My coworkers were all stunned and nervously laughing by the end of my answer. They hadn’t been expecting anything serious. Even though I had warned them that my answer would be shocking, they still weren’t prepared. I wasn’t supposed to do anything of consequence on my day. But I couldn’t help speaking from the heart. If I could save the country, I would.
I know that this is a total fantasy. Once consolidated, power rarely dissipates willingly or simply. It almost always takes a big fight to end tyranny. But it’s a price many good men and women in the past have been willing to pay.
Think of how little of a role national politics would play in our lives if the federal government were the size it was at the founding. If we followed the 9th and 10th Amendments to the letter, we wouldn’t have such bitter elections and Supreme Court fights. There’d be much less at stake on all sides.
Can’t Last Forever
Let’s face it, a powerful centralized government can’t last forever. If the federal government can’t relinquish control willingly right now, it will have to by necessity a little later. That’s the lesson of history. Power corrupts. We’re not the same nation we were in 1789 in our philosophy of governance or in our moral character as a people.
I’d rather see us humble ourselves than be humbled by outside forces. But one way or another, we will one day return to saner structures to keep power in check. Mere words and wishes won’t make it happen smoothly. I’m afraid we’ll likely have to suffer a great deal before we see that day. In the end, though, good will win.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.