Yesterday we extolled the virtues of radical ideas versus controversial subjects. This should have raised a question in the mind's of thoughtful Downsizers, and so we'll respond to that question today.
If radical ideas are superior and controversial subjects inferior, why are there so many seemingly controversial subjects on the DownsizeDC.org homepage? More specifically, why have we weighed-in on U.S. foreign policy when it's so controversial?
It must be stressed that the following answers are merely the guidelines we use. This is an art, not a science. We recognize that our judgments are subject to error. So having said, we'll begin with two simple answers . . .
One, the FOCUS of our efforts should be the radical ideas, like "Read the Bills." And that IS our focus.
Two, some controversial subjects gain our attention because of the Transpartisan Exception.
What is the Transpartisan Exception?
Answer: A Downsizing proposal that has Transpartisan support can be used to expand our army, even if it remains passionately controversial with a large plurality of the populace.
When there is significant agreement between liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and populists about a Downsizing proposal, then it's time for Downsize DC to join the frey. We've reached that point with U.S. foreign policy.
Opposition to U.S. foreign policy is no longer mainly confined to some liberals and most libertarians. Two staunch conservatives, whom we respect, lobbied us to oppose the current stance of U.S. foreign policy. We've also noted a rising rebellion among every group, conservatives in particular. All of this is reflected in the polls. Most Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, and most reject that Iraq has anything to do with the "war on terror."
There is still PASSIONATE support for current U.S. foreign policy, which keeps the subject controversial, but polls show it is now a minority position. Opposition to the current policy now has transpartisan support, and thereby triggers the Transpartisan Exception.
Another consideration is the importance of an issue to achieving the long-term goal of Downsizing DC. Most government growth comes in a handful of areas: entitlements, the budgeting process, monetary policy, and foreign policy. We cannot Downsize DC in any significant way without taming U.S. foreign policy. This means turning our foreign policy toward the defense of the American people, and away from the creation of new enemies to threaten our security.
Let there be no mistake about our position on this issue: Most U.S. foreign policy actions, especially those conducted in the dead of night without the knowledge of the American people, have had the result of CREATING enemies rather than ELIMINATING them. This has been a tragedy for the American people and for the people of the world. It has also been a major area of growth for government. This must end if we are to Downsize DC!
Finally, there is the question of timing. Nothing productive can be done when the American mind is in the grip of a HYSTERIA MOMENTS. During such moments passions run wild, rational thought is turned off, and the American people are more prone to buy a lie and embrace the hyperbole of politicians as they present their newest schemes. America has been the victim of many such moments . . .
Lies, schemes, and hyperbole were used to incite the hysteria needed to start the Spanish-American war. Lies, schemes, and hyperbole were used to incite the hysteria needed to involve the U.S. in World War I. Lies, schemes, and hyperbole were used to justify U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Our wars have been more often based on the hysteria caused by lies, schemes, and hyperbole than they have been motivated by legitimate threats.
Lies, schemes, and hyperbole were also employed to exploit 9-11 to justify a pre-existing desire to invade Iraq. It is just the latest example in a long and sordid list.
Government grows through the creation and exploitation of HYSTERIA MOMENTS. But eventually the American people wake up from the hysteria, as if with a hangover, and ask themselves "What were we thinking?" It happened with the Spanish-American War, with World War I, with Vietnam, and now it is happening with the current policy.
When a HYSTERIA MOMENT passes productive work can be done. Steps can be taken to protect a certain number of people from the lies, schemes, and hyperbole that will accompany the next HYSTERIA MOMENT. We are in just such a time right now. And so we decided to act.
This is our answer . . .
* We FOCUS on radical ideas
* We still pay attention to those controversial subjects that have broad transpartisan support
* We campaign in areas that are crucial to Downsizing DC in the long term
* We avoid HYSTERIA MOMENTS
If you like what we're doing, and the thought behind it, we hope you'll register your approval by contributing to our fundraising drive. You can do so here.
And it's important that you do. As of right now, we're just $2,000 away from our monthly goal. But I'm told a check is in the mail from a California donor who generally sends a four-figure check. Our need right now may be as low as $1,000. Let's not miss this goal. Please, make a contribution now.
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.