The only plan for our government


They don’t just call it a newspaper for nothing. There’s all sorts of interesting things you can find by thumbing through the local broadsheet — or in my case, thumbing across the touch screen of my computer.

For instance, I found out this week that one of my fellow columnists decided to no longer be a member of the Republican Party. That gives her more in common with Donald Trump, who isn’t really Republican either — assuming Republican or Democrat means anything anymore.

After all,  House Speaker Paul Ryan claims to be a Republican and I’ve seen little evidence of it and even Mitch McConnell says he’s one but he’s not exactly a fanatic about it.

Personally, however, I will not be changing my party affiliation for the same reason I reject the idea of dying — spite.

I refuse to give anyone the satisfaction.

Party affiliation on a national level really doesn’t mean much anymore because people attach themselves to political parties even though they have very little in common with their platforms because they want to use the party mechanisms already in place, rather than start their own party.

Sen. John McCain should really start the Maverick Party and then branch out into the individual Top Gun subgroups of Joker, Goose and Ice. Eventually he can get to the meat of it with the “I Still Matter, Dammit, Party.”

Party affiliation should mean more on the local level than when you’re dealing with people that you have a chance to hear speak and be attacked relentlessly by their opponent on national television

In a small town you might know the candidates, but in a community our size it gets to the point where most voters don’t actually know them. So, they tend to look at party affiliation a little bit to get a general idea of their political philosophy.

It’s for this reason in our community that the idea of having partisan elections, that is those that would show a party affiliation for City Council or school board, are absolutely abhorred by about 28 percent of the community. That way they can sneak people onto those bodies. If candidates had to choose a party affiliation and go through a nominating processs, they wouldn’t get within a mile of those positions.

But partisan elections can result in “misfires” — philosophically adrift individuals fastening themselves to political parties.

Speaking of misfires and items in the newspaper, did anybody see the story this week announcing the Grand Junction City Council’s adoption of a four-point strategic plan?

All right, be honest, which part is funnier — the strategic part or the plan part? I know, it’s impossible to choose, it’s really a matter of the reader’s mood.

First of all, it’s a wonderfully redundant phrase that is put together by people who read too many books on management, because it sounds neat.

That’s because strategy is by definition a plan. The dictionary defines strategy as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim” — so what has been adopted is a four-point plan plan.

This then is doubly dangerous because, in all seriousness, any sort of planned economy, which seems to be generally what they’re aiming at, has historically failed; often spectacularly.

That’s because growth in an economy is based upon the rapid individual response of private enterprise to ever-changing market forces.

Government is provided with taxpayer funds and some measure of power to create an environment in which individual economic players can move rapidly, safely and be provided with an equitable and swift system for resolution of disputes.

If government becomes too involved in the planning process, it by its nature seeks more power to achieve its ends, ultimately conflicting with the power of individual choice held by the people.

This leads to “the clash between planning and democracy,” as Friedrich von Hayek points out in his seminal work “The Road to Serfdom.” We see this in the attitude of government officials over the requirement that tax increases be voted upon by the people.

This isn’t to say that government should not plan, it just shouldn’t plan to take the place of market forces.

The only plan should be to provide a structure with bureaucratic energy focused on public safety, transportation, sanitation and properly balancing regulation with economic freedom.

I used to think Republicans understood this, but it looks like truth in labeling has fallen to the wayside.

Rick Wagner is a Grand Junction attorney who maintains a political blog, The War on Wrong. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Too bad the board of directors at the airport haven’t been able to find a strategic plan that would have saved wasting about $2 million and an eyesore at the regional transportation center!  Those books might have been a source of ideas of how to go about getting something done rather than throwing hands up in the air and quitting.  Now that just isn’t funny!

Mr. Wagner criticizes a fellow columnist (Ms. Brown) for leaving the Republican Party.  When reading that column, the only question I would have asked her (provided the opportunity) is “What took you so long?”

Personally, I left the Republican Party as soon as I noted the effort by the religious fundamentalists to take over that organization, an effort at which (primarily because of the intellectual weakness and cowardice of much of the American electorate they have been quite successful).  One need only look at what is the fastest growing type of theology in this country.  It is “prosperity theology” or “God wants you to be rich”, which is nothing more than an attempt to rationalize their selfishness and greed, by portraying the accumulation of money and things as some type of reward for being more virtuous than others.

There is also something else quite evident in their approach, something which is not new to humanity.  It was formerly referred to as “The Divine Right of Kings”.  But, it makes no difference whether that “Divine Right” to rule comes from a particular individual or a group. The Christian fundamentalists have also claimed the “Divine Right” to rule.  We can not only expect, but are even now seeing, the consequences of that with the dehumanizing of others.

When I read the opinions of such as Mr. Wagner, it is quite clear that his “core value” is materialism, and not humanism.  So, if he were very true and honest with himself, he would place two flags on his building, one being the hammer and sickle representing the materialistic value he holds, then the fascist flag that represents his total devotion to corporatism backed by the state or, corporatism and state being the very same thing.

Mr. Wagner, as should many, make a close examination of their positions on issues.  If they did, they might well find that their motivation is not as noble as they may believe they are, and that they themselves not as noble as they may believe themselves to be.

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