The Dreaded Window into Government Activity
Ethan Barton writes on The Daily Caller that the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — which played a large role in bringing us RhodeMap RI and every other push to trample property rights in the name of progressive social re-engineering — doesn’t follow the most (let’s say) transparent financial practices:
“Multiple deficiencies existed in HUD’s internal controls over financial reporting, resulting in misstatements on the financial statements and noncompliance with laws and regulations,” the report [from a government watchdog] says. “We have reported on HUD’s administrative control of funds in our audit reports and management letters since fiscal year 2005. HUD continued to not have a fully implemented and complete administrative control of funds system that provided oversight of both obligations and disbursements.”
This is the sort of thing that leads more and more of us on the right side of the political spectrum to conclude that the federal government is tantamount to a criminal enterprise, at this point. I’ve started to think, too, that the very extremity of the mismanagement makes it more difficult to persuade people to change their political beliefs and actions.
A major challenge in the absolutely critical process of persuading people to think differently about government is that they quickly reach a point at which further consideration would push them to some unthinkable conclusion. If you admit that the government has essentially become a giant crime syndicate, a vast field of truisms that must be challenged presents itself. Most people, I’d say, don’t even want to go so far as articulating the problem. They sense it is there, and they don’t want to open the door because they realize they’d have an obligation to work toward repairs.
The problem transcends individual policies. HUD, for example, benefits from this reluctance even among people who have no personal or emotional investment in HUD’s activities. When once the growth of government comes under scrutiny and the fact becomes undeniable that it cannot be trusted to operate without careful citizen oversight, there’s no telling what might fall. Entitlements? Abortion? Scientific subsidies? Handouts for the arts? To admit that government is not some magical machine to which we can give instructions and money and receive some vague social benefit with little personal involvement is to face our own negligence not only in failing to supervise government, but also to really think through our political philosophies.
In short, rethinking the auditing practices of HUD inexorably means rethinking one’s relation to the government. Then, the only thing worse than cynically stoking the conspiracy theorists on the right is realizing that they are correct. The problem with opening yourself to agreement with the proposition that government is behaving like a criminal enterprise is that you open yourself to becoming the sort of person who thinks that government is behaving like a criminal enterprise, and that means a lot of effort not just to do the right thing, but also to push back against the (conspicuously government-reliant) people who’ll start calling you crazy.