On July 31, the Santa Barbara (CA) News-Press published this letter to the editor from restaurateur Kevin Bass:
This month, our elected City Council representatives spent quite a bit of time and energy deciding to end the scourge of plastic straws. Think about that. For some reason, the people we elected to manage the city felt the most pressing issue of the day was to “ban” a product that was partly developed originally to prevent illness and cross contamination. After a lot of virtue signaling, our fearless leaders indeed voted to ban something the marketplace had already begun to reject.
Did unmanageable public employee pension obligations come up at the meeting? Did the very real public health threat of feces and urine in our streets come up? Was the crisis of empty storefronts on State Street discussed? No. They banned plastic straws. And they were proud of themselves for doing so.
Unfortunately, Councilmember Jason Dominguez lowered the veil on the real reason our City Council (like others across this crazy state) felt it imperative to act. Mr. Dominguez was quoted as saying of his constituents, “we need to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.” In other words, “people” are too stupid or too venal or too deplorable to do so themselves. In case you missed it, that’s us he was referring to.
Because of the ridiculous new district elections in the city, Mr. Dominguez is in the position of regulating “every aspect” of our lives because he received a whopping 1,100 votes in his district. This amazing demonstration of democracy in action has given him the power he craves. He really thinks we need to have “every aspect” of our lives regulated by smart and sophisticated people like him and his fellow progressives on the council. We know this because he said so openly.
Maybe it is unfair to focus on Mr. Dominguez’s comments, since it is so clear that the majority of our City Council has the same opinion of our ability to manage our own affairs. Does anyone else wonder at the totalitarian mindset behind such a comment?
What makes these people think they were elected to “regulate” the lives of free Americans? Why do we elect people who have such contempt for our intelligence and creativity? Here’s a newsflash: The city, the county and the state of California already regulate us to death. They tell us what kind of light bulb we can use. They tell us how much water we can use to flush our toilets. There is hardly a facet of our lives that is not regulated or taxed by them. Any Californian who has to interact with government on any level knows this.
Here is a message to those council members and our other elected officials who believe their duties include regulating “every aspect of people’s lives” – to hell with you people.
The role of government, and governance, is not about regulating ‘every aspect of people’s lives’. It’s not about the acquisition and application of power. Or wealth.
More government is not better government.
What is the proper role of government? It is best said here in a unique and exceptional document:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”.
Government, in this country, was envisioned to be limited in scope, reach, and power. The government served the people and was designed to be accountable to the people. The US Constitution specifically limited the powers of the federal government and through the 10th Amendment, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Over time, the purpose and role of government has changed. Not for the better and not for the benefit of the people.
For anyone living today in California, this letter has to hit home. But the key element of Mr. Bass’s message doesn’t apply for just California. It is indicative of a fundamental change that has taken place across this country – and it is not a change for the better.
It changed because our watchdog, the press, stopped being the watchdog for us.
It changed because we, through apathy, distractions, and other priorities, neglected our responsibilities.
It changed because those in government thought their positions were about the acquisition of power and wealth. That they were a special class of people because they were ‘the’ government. That they determined who was most deserving or who would be successful. That they knew more and better than others. That their role was to ‘fix’ what they perceived to be ‘past wrongs’.
We need to reverse this change and we are running out of time to do so. We need to send a very clear and pointed message to those who embrace this misplaced mindset, advocate that misplaced mindset, and enact that misplaced mindset:
“To hell with you people”