Monday, January 10, 2000

Week of 01/10/2000

Thug’s Diplomacy
- by David Matthews 2

I sometimes believe that there are a few dozen sayings that should be dropped from human conversation faster than a lame sitcom on the WB. "Good to go" is one of them. Good to go... sounds like you’re working with a NASCAR pit crew, or at the drive-thru at McDonald’s. Two cheeseburgers, two fries, and two Cokes… here’s your change. You’re good to go Mister Earnhart.

Of course, when it comes to mangling the English language, no one group does it better than the government. For instance, naming someone a "czar". General Barry McCaffrey quickly comes to mind since he is the latest so-called "drug czar" by the Clinton Regime, a post initially created by William Bennett, who I suppose would consider himself now to be the "family values czar". Anyone remember when naming someone a czar was a bad thing? When naming someone a "crime czar" meant only seeing their faces on wanted posters? Nowadays, a so-called "crime czar" would be seen shaking hands with the President in the middle of the Rose Garden.

But that’s government for you… a world where duplicitous doublespeak is the common language. Who else would call a war a "police action"? Or call a tax hike a tax cut?

However, if there is one thing that I wish we could purge the government of doing, getting them to stop wanting to engage in a "dialogue" is probably close to the top of the list.

US Labor Secretary Alexis Herman was the latest to engage this kind of governmental soft language. One of Secretary Herman’s departments – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – recently sent a letter to a Texas company that said that employees that work out of their homes should be held to the same safety regulations as in the workplace. That set off a firestorm of outrage from thousands of people who work from their homes, calling for OSHA to be shut down before they started sending in "safety police" to classify diaper pails as hazardous waste and mandating what kind of florescent lighting would be required in the den.

Red-faced at being caught engaging in stealth regulation, Secretary Herman announced that she would rescind that letter, and then asked that the country engage in a "dialogue" over what kind of safety standards would be acceptable in the home office.

Now let’s get brutally honest here… the Clinton Regime’s idea of engaging in a "dialogue" is much like that of a drill sergeant on the first day of basic training. They dictate, you simply bark out "yes sergeant" or "no sergeant" to their orders. That concludes the "dialogue".

Anyone remember President Clinton’s so-called "dialogue" on race relations in America? The minute one audience member disagreed with the President, Clinton engaged in a kind of verbal berating that made many of his fellow lawyers cringe. He didn’t want to hear anyone disagree with him. He wanted people to nod their heads like good little zombies while his well-placed shrills gave out testimonials in a tactic used by revival ministers and infomercial hosts.

How about those "Know Your Customer" regulations that were proposed by the Regime for the banks? Remember those? The federal government wanted to sneak in regulations that required bank officials to inquire how their customers got their income and report to the government any deposits or withdrawals that they thought were "unusual." There was enough of an outrage by the public to force the Clinton Regime to give in… but only in public. In truth, many of those regulations were already enacted privately by banks for years!

But of course, Clinton and his acolytes are not the only ones who engage in this verbal version of "shoot first, ask questions later". Politicians and moralists all are willing to engage in a "dialogue"… but only after their law or regulation has been enacted, or if they know they will already have the support to get it enacted. By then, the damage is already done, and it is too late to change anything.

Here’s a common tactic used by local officials: some politician wishes to crack down on what he deems to be offensive. So he announces that he is proposing an ordinance at the next public meeting. Now before this announcement has even made it to the newspapers, he has already met privately with many of his fellow politicians, as well as their attorney and often with the police chief or sheriff to make sure he has enough support for this to pass and be enforced. So even if the entire assembly room were filled with people in opposition to this proposed ordinance, it wouldn’t matter, because in most instances, the ordinance will be passed.

So why bother with the talk, you ask? Simple… government engages in a "dialogue" just so the people can have their voices heard. Politicians know that as long as the public is allowed to simply vent their rage and anger, they won’t take that rage and anger to the ballot box. They thrive off the public’s short memory and overall apathy and use it as a means to their own advantages.

There is no doubt, for instance, that the "reversal" of OSHA policy by Secretary Herman was, at best, nothing more than a postponement of official policy that would give OSHA the power to regulate what goes on in a person’s home office. Her department will simply convince business leaders to quietly relent, just like the banks quietly enacted many of the "Know Your Customer" policies long before the public even heard of them.

George Washington said that "government is not reason, it is not eloquence… it is force." And I would add that government is not a "dialogue" either. Trying to engage in a "dialogue" with government is like trying to engage in a "dialogue" with a thermonuclear warhead. You can talk your head off all you want, all it will do is continue its quiet countdown to complete obliteration of everything in its path.

Government is about two things – action and reaction. The only good time to have a constructive "dialogue" with government is BEFORE those in power make a decision. By the time government acts or reacts, the only talking left to do is the kind of empty spin talk that we all hate.

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