We Could Use a Few More Right-Wing Ideologues
By Chuck Muth
Gene Paslov – perhaps Nevada’s most prominent unreconstituted California liberal who, as Nevada’s government-schools superintendent for nine years, directed public education’s headlong slide down the razor blade of mediocrity – is now offering his expert advice to the GOP. Oh, joy.
“The Republican Party has been hijacked by right wing ideologues,” the former school bureaucrat wrote in a recent letter-to-the-editor in Carson City. “I hate to resort to name calling, but it’s difficult to identify these anti-government, anti-public school, anti-tax radicals as anything other than ideologues.”
Here’s another name for such persons: “Founding Fathers.”
Indeed, if Mr. Paslov can somehow find an American history book in one of his old government schools and blow the dust off its covers, he would discover that this nation’s very creation came about thanks to what he considers radical right-wing hostility to government and taxation.
For example, radical right-wing ideologue Thomas Jefferson said, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.” Radical right-wing ideologue Thomas Paine added, “Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”
And get a load of this anti-government sentiment by radical right-wing ideologue George Washington: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence–it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master.”
As for hostility toward taxes, Mr. Paslov might want to read up on a certain tea party hosted in Boston Harbor by radical right-wing ideologues John Hancock and Sam Adams (who went on to have a rather right-tasting beer named after him). Or consider the words of radical right-wing ideologue Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall who declared in 1819 that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”
The stated purpose of government, in the “spread the wealth” socialist mind of Gene Paslov, is to provide “needed government services to the greatest number of citizens.”
But radical right-wing ideologue Thomas Jefferson disagreed. “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated,” declared the author of our Declaration of Independence. Radical right-wing ideologue James Madison chimed in that “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
Further showing an alarming, but not totally surprising, misunderstanding of our governmental system and history, Mr. Paslov also wrote, “(Chuck) Muth would do well to remember that in our democracy the government is, ‘We the people.’”
How embarrassing. The enormity of the error of that statement is breath-taking, especially when one considers this man was in charge of the government schools in Nevada for almost a decade.
We do not live in a “democracy” here in the United States. We live under a governing system explained by radical right-wing ideologue Benjamin Franklin at the end of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. In response to a woman’s question about what type of government the convention delegates had agreed upon, Franklin responded, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”
“We the people” do not vote on every issue or every lame-brained, touchy-feely proposal that comes down the pike. That would be a “democracy.” Instead, we elect representatives who cast votes on our behalf – preferably within the confines of our Constitution. But when elected representatives exceed their authority, the courts may strike down their lame-brained legislation as unconstitutional. It’s part of what is called our system of “checks and balances.” You could look it up.
One would hope a former head of the Nevada public schools would know and understand the difference between a “republic” and a “democracy.” The fact that Mr. Paslov apparently doesn’t goes a long way toward explaining why the kids who go to his public schools don’t either.
Fortunately, I’m here to take up the slack. And that concludes our history/civics lesson for the day, kids. Class dismissed.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.