The creed which haunts us
The government must always be the problem - don’t you know?
Creed: a formal statement of Christian beliefs, especially the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed, or a set of beliefs or aims which guide someone's actions, e.i., "not everyone follows a creed of acceptance and understanding"
“Why do men wrangle about cold creeds and outward forms, and refuse to listen to the soft persuasion of scrutinizing reason?”
— J. Linen.
LINEN, JAMES; an American poet and miscellaneous writer, (New York and San Francisco, 1866.)
I do think that the Reagan era solidified a creed, still so unshakable so many years later for millions of us,
That is about the inherent evil of government, that it’s only an impediment to the good life,
It is a perpetual scapegoat with very long pointed horns with a near immortality,
As I wrote to a friend recently about the Fox “News” consumer, in order to make any headway in discussion with them, you must agree to the notion of anti-government, that government has and always will be the problem, at least a little or they turn off from the discussion,
With a global pandemic arriving, and with every eye on what the federal response would be, and with their particular man free of government background influence in control, they still seemed not to lose the anti-government fever which they have suffered from for perhaps decades,
And when Trump tried to pawn off his responsibility during these times of distress to the states, and governors from state to state were flummoxed by the lack of federal support,
Those observing said event could not come to a conclusion of the importance of an able federal government coordinating vital resources.
“The practical effect of a belief is the real test of its soundness.”
FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY, born at Dartington, Devonshire, April 23, 1818; an eminent English historian.
I too was somewhat anti-government, a young man of the inflation of the 1970s, gas lines, Iranian hostages, etc.,
I worked for the National Park Service that one summer, doing Carter Administration driven energy audits of all the buildings in Yellowstone Park,
It was a very needed work in a quite cold environment, reducing energy needs, ahead of its times, but I rejected a return offer,
I was in the throws of the “the government is a substandard mentality,”
If the insulation increased in the attics of the park buildings were actually done of if the the wastefulness of Reagan prevented it I do not know, it was a worthwhile job which paid little to me, and not appreciated at the time,
Only a recession led me back to Federal Government as an engineer, a classmate was working on the space shuttle engine at a large corporation, this young man was brilliant and had talents greater than mine, yet I had a dream,
I was interviewed by “Star Wars advocates” for our national defense, the absurdity was not lost upon me, I was a scientist after all, but I still wanted the high class private sector job,
I had a mentor, an oil man from Wyoming who I stayed in contact with, he was an influence upon me, and wholly a Republican,
He had drilled on the North Slope, and was truly one who I admired, although he too bought into the creed which haunts us still,
It took a recession from Reagan, eight months with my Democratic ranching father to catch on, while looking for a job, and realizing the error in my vote in 1980, to understand this problem still upon us,
I should say rather the mistake I had made, as error implies a miscalculation, a mistake is more of a blind blunder based upon ignorance.
“Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.”
— C. E. Stowe.
Stowe, a theologian and translator of about c. 1828.
Throughout my years in a technical field primarily in government, federal and state, I worked with many who had common sense,
Most were conservative, engineers are generally that way, and paradoxical many were government employees with the antigovernment bent on display,
Their common sense had its limits, they were firm arbiters of the federal and state dollar and did very good work, yet the seed of “antigovernmentalism” grew healthily within them,
It seemed always a mismatch to me, but they could reconcile it all in their minds,
Many a conservative person I have known also possessed common sense, but they were firmly in the “government is the problem” camp,
And as a government engineer it was a constant challenge to try and convey that the reasoning for technical decisions had to do with scientific principles, feasibility, not “the government bureaucracy at work,”
This was of course a very hard hurdle to clear, and it was most more helpful to try not and educate, rather to dictate, like a bureaucrat,
And very generous government financial assistance to the landowner, often more than not a conservative, made no difference in their anti-government creed so well swallowed,
It was observed that with total government cost share often the landowners were even more intractable in demands, it seemed not to make any common sense,
They did not see the most common sensical organization of all, the government, as anything but a hindrance to their ideas of freedom,
I do not contend that the government is perfect, I’m not about to use this particular argument, but a government built upon addressing the needs of the majority of we the people is a work in continual progress, but one must be willing to undertake the process, not discount the entire concept out of spite.
“A good creed is a gate to the city that hath foundations; a misleading creed may be a road to destruction, or if both misleading and alluring it may become what Shakespeare calls a primrose path to the eternal bonfire.”
— Joseph Cook.
(This is the possible author) Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG (7 December 1860 – 30 July 1947), an Australian politician who was the sixth Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1913 to 1914. He was the leader of the Liberal Party (a conservative) from 1913 to 1917, after earlier serving as the leader of the Anti-Socialist Party from 1908 to 1909.
Perhaps Cook is referring to religious creeds above, but this concept of a misplaced, unthought out belief system is a potentially hazardous thing to hold tightly to applies to all creeds in my thinking,
The great communicator Ronald Reagan indeed was the salesman to the primrose path we have unfortunately been on since his time,
“Free-marketism,” trickle-down economics, the villain always the government, the welfare queens who were stealing all of our hard earned tax dollars, the act was a well rehearsed one, well performed and found immense applause, the clapping, although not so loud now, still continues,
It being only bewildering to critical thought, and repeated failures easily observed over the years, it remains a creed of way too many Americans,
And with it has only came more extremist views, as when the failures occur with governance in the ways of Reaganism, it is only because the government somehow through a “deep state” perhaps somehow still is causing all our problems,
Wheat prices were high under Nixon’s term, the rationale behind some acquaintance’s buy-in with the Republican point of view,
Regardless of many other examples of family farms failing in the 1980s,
Somehow all was forgotten or forgiven, government was the culprit,
Trump’s misplaced singular tariff policy toward China, requiring billions of dollars of aid to the soybean farmer who lost their market, through it all - the problem is government, especially of the socialist Democratic administrations,
There is no empirical logic involved in living this creed passed down, and many second generation or third generation creed adherents are among us now, even more out of touch,
The creed lives on, and will go to the deathbed for many, this is a fact of life, a reality we can’t escape from,
Or maybe we can put a dent in it, those enlightened, those with enough patience to continue the battle, the rats will eventually figure out the maze, we think,
But perhaps not.
This brick wall which foreheads such as mine have banged upon for too many years has not softened, one still breaks the skin upon its abrading non-yielding surface,
This creed for which we were blessed by the efforts of Reagan and his ideological offspring continues, even those who have disdain for Trumpism’s blatant extremism still cling to the well solidified creed, anxious to run with it more if control can be wrestled away from those fanatics,
And government has been under operation of the scapula for years now, it is not allowed to change through honest efforts in a bipartisan way,
It is the sworn enemy of too many, their creed is strong, just more cutting will solve the problem, that the only possible conclusion to it them all, end of discussion,
As Reagan, the great communicator, told us all, in his infinite wisdom, he the greatest president of our lifetimes they think, regardless of actual historian’s surveys only a Internet search away from our eyes,
My forehead is bloodied again through these words upon his page.
Again I cringe when the word bureaucrat is used, I disliked my dealings with the IRS in the last few years,
But I understand their ways, and accept the responsibility of being a part of the government in my citizenship, even though I no longer work for them, it’s up to me to make it better,
A private corporation will have no incentive to press for changes in the process, not in a million years,
And the Libertarian viewpoint is pure fantastical musings, unworkable except in a Ayn Rand novel,
So one is the government, it’s a simple concept, yet ultimately rejected due to the creed.
And government workers are lazy.
This part of the mythology as well, it all ties together in the mind of the creed holder, after all there is only one man among a group with a shovel in hand on the road construction,
I worked 14 hour days shoveling cuttings out of a metal pit on a drilling rig, looking for uranium years ago,
I was in a trench in the Montana wilderness handling 15-inch PVC pipe all day,
I was drilling a gas well in South Dakota in November subzero weather, a frostbitten left ear which still pains in the cold,
I stacked hay bales in the late July sun,
And I worked hard in government too, as I choose to be outdoors much of the time,
But exhausted my mental capacities behind the design desk as well,
Land survey in the North Dakota January, on a construction site near winter shutdown with a virus in my face from the cold and stress,
Jobs do vary widely across government certainly, some more demanding than others,
But I certainly put in full days in government, as did everyone else around me,
This neatly packaged myth goes with the whole theme, it completes the creed, a fishing lure enticing to all who wish to blame something they don’t think is within their control, as they are taught this,
And this one which I’m still resentful over, it so many years in my past, and this is a good place to end,
The conversation could be extended, but I’ve made my point perhaps.
25th posting, March 17, 2023 (St. Patrick’s Day)