“Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” That saying sums up most federal programs and departments; whatever the intended goal, in the end they’ll achieve just the opposite.
Here are some examples of the Law of Opposites at work in government.
Ethanol fuel subsidies consuming more energy than the fuel produces.
Borrowing and spending to fix an economy wrecked by borrowing and spending.
Affirmative action laws which discriminate to fight discrimination.
The scene in Ghostbusters, where Con Edison is ordered by the EPA to turn off the power to the ghost containment grid.
The list goes on and on. The law of opposites doesn’t apply to everything in government; it is a cynical view, but it often turns out to be true. Cynicism aside, it is pragmatic to question actions of government to see if they are achieving their goals and if taxes are being spent wisely.
One of the biggest examples of big government solutions achieving the opposite result has been the war on terror. This video shows a gas tanker stolen by the Taliban, which then gets stuck and latter bombed. Some of the people present were lured by the possibility of getting free gasoline.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcfEibh8oWc
This video might be a worst case example in fighting the war on terror, and isn’t meant to imply every terrorist’s death carries a matching number of civilian deaths. The video is an example of the rules and procedures of a bureaucracy becoming the primary focus, and the original goals become secondary.
After 9/11, enlistment went up in the U.S. armed forces. Americans were willing contribute their time, and lives if necessary, to fight terrorism. Imagine if the people in this video had been Americans, the U.S. armed forces would see another spike in enlistment. When this video was shown on Al Jazeera, it probably caused a spike in enlistment in terrorist organizations.
It’s another example of out of control government: hundreds of billions borrowed and spent to fight terrorism, which results in growing the ranks of terrorists. It is throwing money at a problem to make it go away. And when the problem doesn’t go away, the answer is always the same–throw more money.
Questions about the war on terror achieving its goals are immediately met with accusations of hating America, being isolationists, appeasing terrorists, and waving the white flag. To those who are defending this version of a big government solution and throwing money at a problem, is this the good kind of big government solution?