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Wolf Tracks


By Dan Jordan

Q. What did Capt. Hazelwood say before the Exxon Valdez ran aground?
A. "Look...I can steer this thing with my butt!"

--old tasteless joke

I was thinking today about the old "ship of state" metaphor, and how certain events were tying in to this. For example, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh's show when he made the point that the Clintonistas couldn't claim success for the strong economy today--because the primary policy contributor to that was Reagan's sharp reduction in tax rates in the 80's and how the USA would "grow its way out of deficits."

If this assertion is true -- and it seems that the tax reductions of the time have certainly not hurt the economy -- then it would seem to lend some weight to two complementary theories that I call the "Backwards-Ruddered Ship Metaphor of Government Intervention:"

  1. The full effects of a government intervention (new law, regulation, etc.)are generally not manifested for quite some time (usually years) after the intervention is implemented. (Like steering a ship...)
  2. Government will tend to do the exact opposite of what really needs to be done in order to solve a problem. (With the rudder on backwards!)

Two bodies of government policy today especially seem to exhibit these qualities: gun control and drug policy.

Since the implementation of new gun controls, it would seem that gun sales are booming. The gun-grabbers want to reduce the numbers of guns on the streets, but their policies are causing more sales, due to people wanting to buy their weapons before the government makes that impossible. I remember seeing a report somewhere on the Internet indicating that during one day when NICS was down, over 24,000 gun sales were put on hold. Someone made a point in rec.guns not long ago that Bill Clinton is one of the best things to happen to gun dealers in quite some time.

In addition, I would be remiss to mention John Lott's contention in "More Guns, Less Crime" that jurisdictions with looser gun restrictions tend to have lower rates of violent crime. It's amazing how so many of us do not have nearly the education our legis-regulators have and we can figure this out.

As far as the War on (Some) Drugs is concerned, the government does not seem to realize that they have created the problem and perpetuated it. I suppose that the schools in which our "public servants" have been educated conveniently left the Prohibition period out of their American history classes. Which brings me to government schools--another subject entirely!

The government created thugs like Al Capone because the people wanted their liquor and were going to get it anyhow. Truly not government by consent of the governed, is it?

And now, the "deadbeat dads" database has been put together, even though the original purpose of the proposed system was to curtail illegal immigration back in 1995. Of course, we know the ultimate effect of this policy: people will begin "opting out" of the system by the thousands--simply by going underground--where they find they will not pay taxes anymore either.

Ah well...I guess Congress and our Criminal-in-Chief like to show that they can steer with their butts, too.

© 1999 Dan Jordan

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September 22, 1999