I don’t agree with everything on the Cato Institute’s Downsizing the Federal Government website — but I do agree with most of it. I’d bet big money that few Republican politicians, if any, realize what it’s going to take to accomplish any downsizing of government at any level.
So what is it going to take? We need new people to step up and join in the process. We need to elect a better class of leaders. We need them to modernize their approach to their job and realize that public opinion is job one. And we need the GOP itself to become what it can be.
I’ve referred to it as a Counterinsurgency — and the need for a “troop surge” much like the military strategy that was successfully implemented in Iraq. Bruce Donnelly, of Surge USA, had the same idea. He outlines strategy ideas here and introduces them this way:
The general high-level strategy outlined below shares some thoughts about developing a conservative ‘surge’ strategy in America. It is not expected to provide all the answers or define all the tactics and action plans. It’s an overview of the challenge ahead, and what we can do about it.
This is not a centralized, state-directed strategic plan. Instead, it proposes some ideas which can be applied to the ‘situation on the ground’ at the state and local level. It’s a counter-insurgency strategy to awaken local leaders to the threat of the liberal insurgency in America and take local action to stop it. We the people need to stand up and be heard locally to stop it. It’s not just the problem of distant politicians and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. We are the solution, not them.
I could not have said it better myself. Donnelly continues (emphasis is mine):
Conservative leaders in each area of the country are the local commanders who need to work out their own local strategy and tactics according to the ‘facts on the ground’ in their own locations.
The key isn’t to organize a national network of drones to do the bidding of the leaders at the top, nor to lobby them for favors. That’s the liberal model. The focus needs to be on empowering many individuals to take responsibility for success in their own communities. Stand up for what we believe.
This is not an ideological struggle of conservative versus liberal ideas, or about what is “fair.” It’s about what works. History is very much on our side in that regard. Liberalism is still the road to serfdom. We didn’t become the envy of the world as a global economic superpower through government social programs and manipulation of our economy. We the people have achieved great things in spite of the growing burden of a government which has become too arrogant, costly, and powerful despite the intended limits imposed by our Constitution and the principles of our Declaration of Independence.
This just presents a high-level framework for thinking about the counter-insurgency strategy as a whole. Local initiatives are the foundation for success, because ‘we the people’ are still in charge here, rather than ‘we the wise and benevolent government leaders’ in Washington, and their social networks.
Friends, there is much work to do in the coming weeks and months and years. Nicole Gelinas wrote a fantastic article on the National Review website today titled “Stop Digging,” with the subtitle, “The pile of debt is far too deep already.” In it, she writes that government shouldn’t be “running banks, insurance companies, car manufacturers, and housing-finance agencies.” But it should be —
— helping markets to discipline financial actors and letting people choose their own investments… Washington [should] limit its role in the marketplace to creating a level playing field on which job creators could flourish. If politicians fail to do this, a decade from now they will be discussing not whether to hike taxes again but by how much. And we’ll all be hoping that America can withstand the extra burden, as failing government policies do even more to blight the prospects for economic growth.
The only way conservatives will see that kind of change in direction from our elected leaders is if it is forced — since nothing in politics moves unless it’s pushed.
Up next: The no-excuses way for concerned citizens to create a local surge.