Just a couple of weeks ago I related on this blog a sad tale told to me by (Democrat) lawyers who were mightily displeased that the Obama administration was packed thick with “activists” whose only goal was to “score big.” By this they meant that inside Obama’s government the bureaucrat who secured the largest penalty, justified or no, against a private company was seen to be the winner among his fellow activists.
I recall some skepticism in the comments about this and the conclusion which I drew from it. Some of this skepticism was of the don’t-try-to-make-me-happy kind because of the gloom that has formed in the minds of some when they contemplate Mr Obama’s reelection, which they feel is all but assured.
Now we already know that EPA is filled even unto overflowing with activists and hacktivists whose only purpose in life is to harry private citizens. It had become so bad that at one point the EPA put forth a ruling which stated that none could sue the agency until such time as it would allow itself to be sued. Alas, this was one step towards tyranny too many and the Supreme Court removed the EPA’s blatant power grab.
Strike that: say instead the Supreme Court removed that power grab. For under the activism of head Lisa Jackson, the EPA—which features on its website (do a Google search for “EPA”) the words “environmental justice”—has spread its reach faster than a colony of hyper-fecund fire ants. And with greater sting.
So there was no surprise yesterday when it was revealed that activist and government-paycheck-grubbing Al Armendariz revealed publicly (or had it revealed publicly) what everybody already knew to be true. As transcribed by The Blaze, Smiling Al said (video here):
I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff…the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. Theyâ€™d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, theyâ€™d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.
And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there.
To emphasize his point Smiling Al giggled, one tiny chirrup. Now it is true that nobody should break just laws, and so it might be with some merit that Smiling Al punish malefactors. But the EPA’s idea of “non-compliance” is often not what ordinary citizens would think moral. They have, as in the case noted above, written their regulations so broadly that—well, let me put it this way. The EPA is like one of those cinematic Georgian Sheriffs who pulls a citizen over, breaks the citizen’s taillight with his nightstick, and then tickets the citizen for driving with a busted taillight.
The analogy with the EPA is complete if we imagine the Sheriff down the tavern bragging about the amount of “fines” he collected.
Smiling Al aptly chose his metaphor wisely, too. Crucifixion is a particularly nasty torture, and unfortunately for its human victims there will be no paschal rejuvenation. Non-victims will indeed have the fear of The One (I almost said “God”) into them, resulting in the needless increase of expense as companies protect themselves from over zealous bureaucrats and their frivolities.
One more analogy for you: prohibition. All acknowledge that one of the worst consequences of this historical instance of government over-reach was the animosity towards civil order the law against drinking imbued in people. It became Us versus Them. All manner of ways to cheat the ridiculous law were invented and citizens became comfortable with the idea of cheating.
The EPA has many prohibition-like rules and regulations, many of which are scoffed at, but perhaps not openly, but companies and citizens, who as before are becoming comfortable with the idea of breaking the law. The Doctrine of Unintended Consequence thus says that the harder the EPA squeezes in its efforts to frighten the populace into obedience, the faster law breaking will increase.
Conclusion: Vote for Romney and slow the rate of increase of government.