“Just where in the world are these angels?”

Illustration: Truth and Lie

Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, June 14, 2013.

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Is anybody in government capable of telling the truth? The recent record suggests not.

Attorney General Eric Holder lied about his involvement regarding the scrutiny of the phone records of Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen.

IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman lied to Congress concerning IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied about her role in the Benghazi disaster.

Then U.N. Ambassador and now National Security Adviser designate Susan Rice went on five Sunday shows last September and lied about what happened in Benghazi.

Last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress about the scope of NSA collection of phone records and emails.

Earlier this year, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius lied about soliciting money from companies that her department regulates in order to promote and publicize Obamacare.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson lied concerning her use of shadow email accounts to avoid creating a permanent record of some of her activities in connection with the execution of her office.

The list of examples goes on but space doesn’t permit.

That federal officials and office holders have taken liberties with the truth is nothing new. The country has lived with lying politicians from the very founding of the republic.

Among examples from our lifetime:

Richard Nixon lied about the Watergate break-in and was hounded from office for it.

Bill Clinton lied under oath to a grand jury and, in so doing, in all likelihood cost his VP the presidential election in 2000.

Lyndon Johnson lied to the American people about U.S. involvement in Cambodia during the Vietnam War, effectively ending his chance at a second elected term while crippling America’s ability to prosecute a war for generations to come.

If you expect politicians to always tell the truth you will be forever disappointed. In a now famous encounter on the Phil Donahue Show in 1979, economist Milton Friedman responded to the uber-liberal Donahue’s faith in government over free markets by asking;

“Just tell me, where in the world do you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?”

The founders knew there were no such angels. The founders knew that humans are by their very nature fundamentally flawed and that any system of government that relies solely on the virtue of its leaders to keep itself in check is destined to become abusive and tyrannical.

Thus our Constitution was designed so as to keep the government on a tight rein with very limited enumerated powers. But two and a quarter centuries later we have so expanded the federal government that it now has power over us right down to how we toilet ourselves, how we light our homes, how we get from point A to point B, how we finance our businesses and what may and may not be said in the schools in our own neighborhoods.

With as much power over our lives as is now vested in the federal government, the virtue of its leaders and functionaries becomes a concern of much greater magnitude. And as we have been recently reminded, virtue in Washington D.C. is in very short supply.

Yet, in this virtuousness vacuum we are being asked to trust that the government will never abuse private information collected from our emails. We are being asked to trust that government won’t abuse the power it now has over us regarding our health care. We are being asked to believe that the exercise of our rights to free speech and assembly won’t earn us an invasive IRS audit.

In all three examples, experience of late suggests that that’s asking a lot.

Recent polls indicate that trust in the federal government stands at an all-time low. That the scope of the federal government stands at an all-time high cannot be dismissed as pure coincidence.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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5 Responses

  1. pk lewis says:

    Since the great educational system of ours has apparently decided that ‘morals & ethics’ has ZERO place in our life or decisions enough to even allow any Morals 101 class in our educational morays.

    …Heather Has Two Mommies beats it out by a mile…anyone could see that a Constitution based on ‘virtues,morals & character” would eventually be’old fashioned & useless.
    Everyone has called this a’grand experiment’ but few people value as such starting out with our educators.
    Too bad parents & educators don’t see the hypocrisy or any religious leader with the very basis of our USA & challenge it hard.
    I guess, its just too much trouble & we have too much to do to be bothered.
    The religious leaders say” Oh well, soon the Lord will come” & the others say ‘we are just too busy” “let someone else do it’.
    I say” Look how Romney with his money & backing was eviscerated’ probably by some other corrupted element.(if the IRS was , I am peanuts compared to that size & pervasiveness) I can’t do it….I am too small.
    Might not be possible to be done.
    Lets just let Heather Has Two Mommies take it over.

  2. The little fish learn from the big fish in Washington. The big fish lie, the little ones closer to home copy that behavior. Arlington’s mayor and city council are a good example. It’s not just the federal government we need to keep an eye on. We need to be watching right here in our own backyard at the city and county levels.

    Thanks for another timely and very much to the point column. And thinks for speaking the truth–saying these people are unvarnished liars. They are.

  3. C M Solomon says:

    I hate to admit this but the days of ANY pretense of a government that is interested in “honest representation of a moral society may be gone forever”. Most of the members of Congress are only interested in maintaining their glorified status as partial rulers of the country with their continuation of astronomical spending and philosophical support of a Marxist President and his agenda through the administrative state (fourth branch of the government).

    The worst part is that the Democrats are honest about their desire to control every aspect of our lives, but the Republicans only timidly protest and don’t try to alarm the country about the fate that befalls us. Where is the Republican record of actual ROLLBACK of the Progressive agenda of the last 80 years (except for Reagan)? In fact, some Republicans try to camouflage their true acceptance of BIG Government inevitability by pretending to be Conservatives as they weakly try to make minor adjustments in the Socialist Democrat agenda.

    For eight year it was truly sickening that Bush didn’t educate the American people on the folly of Socialism or force legislation to stop it. In hindsight, I believe that the Bush crowd has NEVER bought into the Reagan belief that the “government IS the problem”. They were too egotistical to admit that even they were not smart enough to tame a BIG government that had run amok already, assuming they wanted to.

    The true believers in the Constitution and limited government (that our founders set up to protect the God given rights of the people) are now the enemies of the Socialists that control every aspect of the Federal government. As we have learned in the last several weeks, the defenders of the Constitution are likely to be punished and forced into submission by the self-appointed “angels of compassion and wisdom” that rule over us.

    Eradication of these ruling elite is the only way that we can avoid complete subjugation to the Federal Socialist leviathan. It is obvious that the present Republican leadership in Washington doesn’t have the stomach or desire to take decisive action to fight for our Constitutional Rights. It is time for us to identify and eradicate the Conservative Pretenders, also.

  4. L Miles says:

    I have a message to all members of Congress that have recited the following Oath of Office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

    If any member of Congress has defiled this oath by turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the incredible violations of the Rights of US Citizens as practiced by the Federal Government and its various Departments as reported all over the world in the last few weeks, then you are guilty of moral depravity and are not worthy of ANY TRUST to hold the office that you have seized under false pretenses.

    Until you repent and turn from your wicked ways, you are an interloper and should be driven from office because you are an ILLEGITIMATE representative of the American people.

    Where are the members of Congress that are willing to expose the devils in their midst that have violated this oath and are plunging this nation into a “banana republic” of the third world in which the rule-of-law is decimated and bankruptcy and destruction of the nation’s and personal wealth is not far behind?

    How many members of Congress have the slightest knowledge of the moral superiority and exquisite wisdom embedded in the Constitution to protect and defend the Freedom, Liberty, and Sovereignty of each citizen that they have sworn to faithfully represent?

  5. Michael L. McAfee says:

    This offering is my favorite so far: it hits the basic problem in America square on the head. Our economy and way of life will not improve until our “leadership” stops lying to us, takes its thumb off the scales of fair weights and measures, and curbs its personal greed for money AND power. The REAL question is “How long are we going to listen to their lying and brook their ‘tangled web’?”

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