Of Sausages and Beaumont Ind. School District Making
One of the three NCFCA policy resolutions considered was: “That the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling and safety policies should be significantly reformed.” Had that resolution been chosen, new federal regulations of sausage making would have been a case to consider. The sausage making process isn’t pretty though maybe pretty doesn’t matter for good-tasting sausages.
Connecting the debate resolution not chosen with the resolution that was, is the
quote attributed to Otto von Bismarck: To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making. Transparency in the political process, as with the sausage-making process, tends to diminish one’s appetite for either.
QuoteInvestigator.com discusses this attribution and raises questions. The quote is compelling whether or not Prince Bismarck considered a sausage duel over offensive language in parliamentary debate.
Sausage duels aside, Bismarck established a welfare state with an expansive role for the state in the lives of everyday citizens. Where America’s Founders wished a limited role for state power and envisioned society thick with voluntary civil society networks, the Bismarck welfare state vision was one of cradle to grave security provided by government agencies.
But this array of welfare state programs excites factions that organize to influence not only spending, contracts, and employment in operating these various programs, but also elections that maintain the flow of funds.
These special interest groups, or factions, enmesh themselves in local, state, and federal elections. They benefit from status quo operations and generally lobby for expanding programs and spending. But these state and federal programs not only consume taxpayer’s money but also push aside voluntary civil society programs with similar social service goals.
To understand the functioning and the impact of the welfare state it helps to understand its origins… This essay reveals the nature of the welfare state as a political system designed to sustain the power of those who crafted it. The welfare state is traced from the introduction of compulsory insurance schemes in imperial Germany to contemporary systems in Europe and America. Those welfare states shouldered aside pre-existing voluntary institutions. The institutions that were shoved aside by the welfare state provide us a vision of what is possible—societies of self-governing, self-respecting, independent, and prosperous people—without the welfare state. (page 33, pdf)
For the federal election law topic, you can see this sausage and law making process at work in debates over the recent Supreme Court decision striking down part of the long-standing Voting Rights Act.
A segment on today’s To the Point (July 29) discusses the ongoing debate in its various complexities. Explanations from Nina Perales of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and
Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute give students a sense of the issues involved.
“Shenanigans” is the popular code word for critics of limiting the Voting Rights Act. Nina Perales on To the Point, calls recent Texas voting changes “shenanigans.” The code is for whites pushing voting changes allegedly intended to limit minority representation, unless Federal Justice Department supervision is quickly restored. This Volokh Conspiracy post, “Joey Fishkin on ‘Shenanigans’ After Section Five,” gives a glimpse of the messy political process
The “UPDATE” in the post is particularly interesting, giving another side to the “shenanigans” claim. Considering that 379 comments have been added to this post, readers can see the topic is contested, at least among Volokh Conspiracy readers.
For homeschool debaters researching the federal election law topic and Voting Rights Act, consider that the article and comments all have to do with the Beaumont, Texas Independent School District. The claimed danger is of
limiting the federal government’s power to decide how school district official are chosen. Really? Does the federal Department of Justice need to judge how Beaumont school district officials should be selected? Shouldn’t the Justice department be out catching or prosecuting terrorists (or perhaps renegade IRS and NSA officials)?
Federal and school district election law-making along with sausage-making may be more complicated than first appearances. Consider the rule of ducks:
As the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a duck. Trader Joe’s Italian Sausage-less Sausage must be Italian Sausage. Except that it’s not. Because it’s completely meat free. You wouldn’t know that, though, by tasting it. It tastes just like Italian Sausage. …
Our Italian Sausage-less Sausage is made with textured soy protein, and the consistency is incredibly meat-like.
If only government programs could be as well-formed from textured soy protein rather than squeezed from hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.
If only local, state, and federal election processes could be as transparent as Trader Joe’s advertising. (Speaking of transparency, I’d like to thank Missouri Soybeans for hosting my Jefferson City Economic Thinking workshop last year.