Regulatory State/Anti-social State
Niall Ferguson in the Wall Street Journal highlights concerns about the increasing regulatory state in America and the decreasing civic life of Americans. I have to admit that I am somewhat at fault for this. I recall with great affection the work my dad and his friend did with the Dundalk Optimist Club. As I am sure some of you know, in my late teens, wrestling was a dominant part of my life. Without the dedication of Coach Bob Crandall and the work of the men of the Optimist Club, the Dundalk Hawks wrestling team couldn't have prospered like it did (Maryland Junior League State Champs!). The Optimists (and OptiMrs.) ensured that the boys on the Hawks had all we needed, one greasy Heritage Fair hamburger at a time. They gave their time and energy so that kids and the community had what they needed because it was the right thing to do and it was just what you did - and their friends were pretty good company to boot.
I would be remiss if I didn't note that more important than the Optimist Club was my folks dragging themselves out of bed at some awful hour in the morning, to drive to some stinky gym in the backwoods of Pennsylvania to make sure I made weigh-ins. But that's another post completely.
I mention this all to highlight my disappointment in myself that I somehow never seem to follow through on my desire to join some of the civic organizations in the Edgewater/Annapolis community. When on the Hill I tried to help out with the Jewish Staffers Association, but I clearly need to find a mechanism to join together with my neighbors to help out my neighbors. Forty is around the corner so maybe I make that the impetus.
As for the regulatory state, I hope I have less blame for that one. I in particular remember the Rear-View Mirror bill coming through the Commerce Committee and hearing from the lobbyists in the auto industry tells me how the bill should be allowed to go through because it's better to get the regs started under the Bush Adminsitration, because, goodness we don't want the Obama Adminsitration getting to run herd over this thing. That worked out well. Hill staffers reading - push back from the table, close out the meeting, and keep the hold.
Anyway I commend this article to your attention. I'm hopeful that it'll feed into a discussion of how we can focus more on community and attempt to ensure that as one of my colleagues says culture > politics.