L. Neil Smith's

Number 7, April 1996

State of Disunion

by Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         Bilious Bill Clinton is a national treasure. First, he's preposterous, and thus altogether entertaining. Second, his blandly obvious disingenuousness, combined with the utter ineptitude of his manipulations, erodes the lie that politicians are selfless civil servants who know what's good for us better than we do like a jet of acid. In that he makes us laugh at politicians -- starting with himself -- and makes us see them as they truly are, he is the most subversive individual in America: freedom's secret weapon.
         But most surprising of all, he's right.
         Being an astounding buffoon, of course, he's right by accident. In fact, it's when he's at his most manifestly devious and insincere that he's at his most prophetic.
         In his State of the Union address, Clinton proclaimed the end of the Era of Big Government. Then he announced a whole slew of new programs -- "initiatives" being the weasel-word du jour, I believe -- which if enacted would inevitably, and hugely, increase the scope of government.
         Now, we may allow ourselves with the late Pharaoh Ed Sanders to pause for an "Oh-ee-oh" at the sheer bald-faced cynicism of such a juxtaposition: this man contradicts himself in the space of a breath, and cheerfully expects us, sheep that we are, not to notice the totally oxymoronic [emphasis on the latter three syllables] nature of what he says. And if the simple-minded acceptance of this gibberish by the media actually reflects public perceptions, he's right about that, too: we really are that stupid.
         But -- entirely without meaning to be, entirely without believing it -- he's right about something far more profound, not to mention hopeful. Because he really was announcing the Death of Big Government, the end of the great American consensus of a century and more, that held that government was as vital to our existence as air, and that the more of it we had, the better. It's gone, evaporated, and is unlikely to coalesce again in our lifetimes.
         You might reasonably ask how I can make such a sweeping statement, when Clinton spent the rest of his speech proclaiming the need for More and Better government to the plaudits of the multitudes, while the best the Republicans had to offer was a slightly different flavor of the All-Powerful State. Rocky Road as opposed to Chocolate Fudge, perhaps, a slightly less sumptuous concoction in which we can expect to be taxed of only 75 percent of our incomes to provide transfer payments to the Baby Boom when it begins to retire, instead of the 84 percent the Democrats would take; but also in which civil liberties such as freedom of expression and due process of law are bluntly demolished, as opposed to ignored or evaded as in the flavor our current masters prefer.
         Government continues to grow by great squelching bulges. Despite their rhetoric, despite the "November Revolution" of 1994, all the Republicans can come up with are half-hearted proposals to slow the rate of government growth. For that the media excoriate them as heartless and lament that government isn't growing even faster. Bill Clinton, as always, seeks to protect himself and his agenda of endless government aggrandizement by using America's children as human shields.
         Yet I'll say it again: the Great Experiment, the Age of the All-Encompassing Welfare/Warfare State, is as well and truly over as the Age of Dinosaurs. Why?
         Simple: the fact that William Ceausescu Clinton, that consummate political being, that entire creature and devoted worshipper of Big Government, found it necessary to proclaim its death to keep from being hooted off the dais, inescapably proves that proclamation correct.

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels, including the just-released CLD from AvoNova and War in Tethyr from TSR.

Did you like this issue? Let us know. Send your comments and suggestions to the Managing Editor, with the word "Comments" in the title of your message.

Next to advance to the next article, or Previous to return to the previous article, or Index to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 7, April 1996.