But Krugman has, obviously without knowing it, stumbled into a true and worrisome fact of contemporary American life: There are more frequent threats on the persons of public officials than in earlier times. The reason for this is not the one adduced in Krugman’s demented partisan explanation, but rather the fact that the political class in general is serving the country so poorly. As I have written in this space before, it has failed on almost every major issue of the last 20 years except welfare reform and, up to a point, counterterrorism. This is not a partisan or ideological matter; it is not regional, and certainly is not sectarian. The political class outsourced scores of millions of jobs while admitting 15 or more million unskilled, under-documented foreigners and ignored the implications of this conduct. It allowed the country to rack up $800 billion annual current-account deficits for years with no end nor any remedial action in sight. It urged, legislated, and ordered the issuance of trillions of dollars of worthless debt, supposedly to promote family homeownership — though the real beneficiaries were less frequent subjects of Norman Rockwell illustrations — and the political class floundered badly and waffles yet, over what to do about it.
The political class has done nothing to alleviate a dependence on foreign oil that makes the U.S. a co-combatant on each side of the War on Terror because of its contribution to the wealth of petroleum-exporting states that finance Muslim extremism. The political class has mired almost the entire conventional-ground-forces military capability of the United States in an unremitting area among ungrateful people for almost a decade at a cost of trillions of dollars, over 5,000 American servicemen’s lives, and tens of thousands of American casualties. The political class has presided over a shocking deterioration of the education standards of the country, done nothing to address the excessive cost and uneven availability of medical care, and the descent of the justice system into a racket in which the whole system of checks and balances is threatened by a rogue prosecutocracy that mindlessly or maliciously prosecutes whomever it wishes and has so deformed the Bill of Rights that it is successful 95 percent of the time. (There are 47 million Americans with a criminal record, and the U.S. has six to twelve times as many incarcerated people as other prosperous and advanced democracies such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.) The decline of the influence and prestige and economic and moral strength of the United States in the world in the last 20 years has been precipitous. The politicians have failed, the system is failing, the people don’t like it, and, at some point, some of the crazy ones become violent.
The Democrats, presumably including the omni-whining Krugman, are right to denounce the reading of the Constitution in the House of Representatives as juvenile theatrics, because most legislators of both parties and all levels of government have allowed the Constitution to be deformed and abused. The answer to misgovernment is not violence and all responsible people should do everything possible to discourage any consideration of violence. But the political class has failed, and abrupt tidal changes of office-holders — 1992, 1994, 2002, 2008, and probably 2010 – aren’t improving standards of public service. If the system isn’t working changing the rhetoric won’t help, any more than dismissing Krugman as a Times columnist would. The rate of violent crime is generally declining. Deranged people need treatment, and the whole country needs better government. It’s conceptually quite simple.
Friday, January 14, 2011
From National Revew Online: