Government Challenges Anarchy to a Duel

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The U.S. federal government just challenged anarchy to a test of might. And each passing day that’s looking more and more like a big mistake.

The much-vaunted “shutdown” of the federal government over an inability to raise the national debt ceiling has turned out to be partial at worst (best?), only targeting the most publicly visible services. Indeed, from the long list of high-profile nonessentials shut down, it has become pretty obvious that the entire point of the shutdown stunt is to make the people’s lives as overtly affected as possible. The message from the feds is clear: “We’ll make damn sure you miss us.”

And how is that little war for relevance going? Not very well, apparently. The massive shutdown of parks and public landmarks, along with all too many private businesses, has given birth to a healthy resistancefrom the general public who have begun to realize that it’s the presence, not absence, of government that has been making their lives miserable as of late. This policy of keeping the people out of national monuments has resulted in a legendary public relations disaster: a now-infamous photo of Vietnam veterans being hauled away like stray dogs for visiting their own memorial. The government’s benevolent father figure mask is quickly melting away to reveal the visage of a wicked tormentor.

This is not lost to the general public. Life goes on unabated for most. Rather than capitulate, most Americans want serious spending cuts before any kind of a deal is reached on the debt ceiling. The petulant little tantrum we are bring forced to endure has only reduced sympathy for the federal government. And society is soldiering on just fine without them. Better, even.

The feds: 0. Anarchy: 1. Good game.