The Wagon Wheel Coffee Table of Presidents

Photo by Navneet Shanu on

Our current political circumstances are so awful there’s no way to even begin to explain what’s so awful about them.

In When Harry Met Sally, as Jess and Marie are moving in together, they ask Harry and Sally to weigh in on a debate over a coffee table. It’s a wagon wheel turned on its side with legs and a glass tabletop.

When Sally sneers at it, Jess demands, “What’s so awful about it?”

Says Marie, “It’s so awful there’s no way to even begin to explain what’s so awful about it.”

Let’s talk about the wagon wheel coffee table of political disaster we have right now. You need only be breathing in 2020 to see the depths of despair that have racked the nation. Pandemic, economic devastation, confusion over national? state? local? response to the crisis (who’s job is this, anyway?) and the limits of power (or whether there even are any).

Then George Floyd died and it’s like we woke up. Finally. To the reality that too many of our citizens have been suffering for far too long. Overmilitarized police, a staggering lack of compassion or empathy, and a willingness to surrender our rights for the illusion of security from imaginary threats.

For all our efforts to Rock the Vote, cycle after cycle we get the perpetuation of a complex political machinery that exists only to further its own power. Spoiler alert: Our government does not serve the people.

In an economist’s view of the three participants in the political process – voters, politicians, bureaucrats – Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University explains succinctly that each human actor will act in his/her own best interest. (Watch the video here.)

Incentives, then, are what govern change. What incentive does the government have to change? It is fully funded by compulsory taxation. It is able to write new laws that expand its reach and insure its own survival. It is stacked with people who understand the system and are using it for their own personal gain.

Davies explains that politics is a numbers game and when politicians take a stand on an issue, they can earn more votes by pandering to the middle – despite there being very few people actually in the middle on any one issue.

Voters will select the politician they think is most likely to enact their own desired change. The politician will set forth a policy that earns the most votes, even if that policy is ineffective. The bureaucrat will enact whatever mandate they are given, even if the mandate is ineffective, so they can keep their jobs.

When we see political action as a game played by individuals and not a machine with collective momentum, we begin to see the way the few enact their will upon the many. We see, also, that there are no incentives for the game players – the ones with the wealth and influence – to enact meaningful change. The game works exactly the way they want it to: they always win.

So how do we end the wagon wheel of political disaster?

Remove the professionals from politics. Enact term limits. Reduce salaries. No more lifetime benefits. Citizens serve one another and their communities, not themselves. We are not an oligarchy. Yet.

Decentralize decision-making. Communities can and should take responsibility for the prosperity and security of their citizens. Everything from schools to roads to voting should be organized and executed at the local level. End the federal tyranny over our local governance.

End taxation. When business owners want to grow their businesses, they sell more product. Force the government to do the same: provide services we want and are willing to pay for (not compulsory theatrics like the DMV, but useful services like elections). For too long the government machine and its seething groundswell, the grifter class, has spent money as if there were no shortage. Cut them off.

We Libertarians love our fellow Americans and we want to protect individual liberty – free to do as you please as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. We support Black Lives Matter for the compassion, empathy, and drive for change. SCLP does not support the Marxist ideologies of the Black Lives Matter movement as defined here.

The President is not a genie in a bottle. The government is not a non-profit community outreach operation. Redistribution of wealth is theft and stability of anything, especially the economy, is a myth.

It’s worth remembering that despite Harry originally supporting Jess’s rights in his new home, he eventually declares the item, a “Stupid, Roy Rogers, garage sale coffee table!”

Even the supporters of the existing stinkfest know we’re being hosed. So, let’s do something about it. Elect someone that is not part of the problem.

Support the SC Libertarian Party. Click here to donate.

Scroll to Top