Have you ever heard Grover Norquist’s defining quote?
"I don't want to abolish government, I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
Who thinks this way, let alone proudly proclaims this in a public interview? This shows Grover Norquist’s extreme disdain for almost any government regulation of the lives of citizens, and for government itself. His philosophy is that if we rid ourselves of government we will be far happier and more prosperous. He is by definition an anarchist, defined as "someone who holds the political philosophy that the state is undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful." (Wikipedia)
It’s very important for Americans to be aware of this man’s extremist views. Although he has never been elected to public office, Grover Norquist is the most powerful person in the Republican Party. This cock does rule the walk. He dominates Republican politics. His Republican "Pledgees" must follow his iron-fisted dictates. Nominally 95% of Republicans in our 112th Congress have signed his 60-word pledge regarding taxes. A total of 1500 Republican legislators across the country have signed this pledge. But this man's alarming dominance doesn’t stop there- it extends to dozens of major, destructive movements going on at national, state and local levels. And his influential role is well under most people’s radar. Americans are under attack by Grover Norquist and his minions, his army specializing in political guerrilla warfare. You have seen the dismay over the gridlock in Wisconsin, Ohio and California. But did you realize that it all emanates from this one man? Just this one man, aided by these pledges of destruction.
To understand more about this man’s thought processes, let us reflect upon Grover Norquist's book: Leave Us Alone; Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives (William Morrow Publishers, 2008). In this book he neatly divides Americans into two groups: The "Leave us Alone Coalition” (LUAC) and the "Takings Coalition”(TC). This is the kind of over-simplification one might find in a low-budget, B-grade Western movie; where all of the good guys (LUAC, of course) wear white hats, and all of the bad guys (TC) wear black ones.
In Norquist’s view, the LUAC are the good guys because they demand almost nothing from the government. Of course, this idea is absolute nonsense in that ALL Americans rely on ALL levels of government for almost everything that happens in each of their daily lives. Those services provided by the government and avidly consumed by the LUAC refute Norquist’s notion that ANY group in America could find it even remotely possible to have our government "leave us alone." For example, most people who own homes do so through a national government-sponsored loan-underwriting agency. Even the wealthiest in the LUAC most likely have at least one of their many homes financed through a government-backed agency. Don't want any government help? Then just move out of your homes all of you in the LUAC. Do you own or work for a company? You, then, benefit tremendously from having an educated work force. Government at the state level most likely provided the public education for the employees in most shops and factories in the USA. Don't want any government help? Then just hire only those who never, ever attended one day of public schooling. Good luck, all of you in the LUAC!
And so now to my final example of how all of us, including those in the LUAC, benefit from our governments. (Please bear with the following silliness… but the basic idea of the LUAC and their wish "to be left alone" is silly in itself.) At the local-government level we have cities, which regulate traffic. Most cities have an engineering department, where trained engineers work at all aspects of city traffic control. These engineers are contemptuously viewed by Norquist as mere bureaucrats. Now let's pretend that we do not have any government at the local level. Let's get rid of these bureaucrat-engineers. "Damn it, leave us alone." OK. No more street corner traffic lights. All of you in the LUAC just take your chances at each corner. Never mind that you and your family run tremendous risks at every "no government here" street corner. Might be crash and burn for you. (Pretty silly, I know.) But by considering the logical extension of the Norquist’s “no government” idea, we can all clearly see that they receive plenty of help from our government at the national, state and local levels.
Then, there are the very worst of the worst, those "black-hat" wearers. Grover Norquist lumps these ne'er do wells into... "The Takings Coalition." It's all in his book, Leave Us Alone:
“It's time to meet the Takings Coalition. These groups and individuals view the proper role of government as taking things from one group and giving them to someone else. Taking what? Money, property, power, and control. They start with money. Often for themselves. Who are they in favor of taking it from? You and me, the taxpayers. Let's go around the table as the Takings Coalition gathers. Seats are reserved for trial lawyers, labor-union leaders, government employees' unions, recipients of government grants, and the two wings of the dependency movement: those who are locked into welfare dependency and those who earn $90,000 per year managing this dependency and making sure none of the recipients get jobs and become Republicans." (Page 34)
Obviously, we must all have government and its services at all levels to lead productive, healthy and safe lives. But Grover Norquist sees the "Takings Coalition" as thieves who are stealing from the rest of the population. In his view, those who fit into the TC are 1) government workers 2) labor unions 3) the nonprofit sector 4) universities 5) trial lawyers and 6) coercive utopians. I will go into each of these categories in more detail in my next blog. In the meantime ask yourself: "Am I a robber-baron or coercive utopian and don’t even know it? Oh the shame!”
It’s high time for this "Cock o' the walk" to take a walk…
Or better yet…
Hey, Norquist, how about YOU leave US alone?
That’s my take.