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Gridlocking the Government: The High Moral Ground

Written by Gary North on October 17, 2015

The American political establishment usually operates in terms of bipartisan cooperation between the political parties. The goal of the political parties is essentially identical: expand the power of the federal government.

This has been true since approximately 1789. This is not some new development. Politicians want to expand the degree of control they have over people’s budgets and lives.

There is a myth about American libertarian history, but anybody who looks carefully at the history of this country finds that only one President has been committed to shrinking the federal government: Grover Cleveland. Jefferson and Madison, once in office, assumed powers vastly beyond anything claimed by King George III in 1775. The authors of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves in 1798 “went Federalist.” Jefferson imposed an export embargo. Madison voted for war after the British government had officially met his demands about the kidnapping of American seamen. The word of this surrender did not reach Washington in time. His first act of war was to invade Canada.

Martin Van Buren had the reputation of being a libertarian. But Van Buren oversaw the infamous Trail of Tears. That was a massive theft of privately owned land, pure and simple. It was not quite genocide, but it was close: sending the civilized tribes to Oklahoma. Then, a century later, when oil was discovered in Oklahoma, the whites stole the land back from the heirs of the Trail of Tears.

Grover Cleveland was the real deal, but he was the only real deal in the history of the American presidency.

If we are to date the rise of the present political establishment, I choose the presidency of Benjamin Harrison, Cleveland’s rival. Cleveland lost to Harrison in 1888, but then came back to defeat him in 1892. (They were both Presbyterians.)

Harrison’s Secretary of State in 1892 was John W. Foster, the co-founder of the Dulles family, which dominated American foreign-policy from Foster’s day until Kennedy’s early administration, when Allen Dulles ran the CIA. Dulles gave us the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.


Bipartisanship is the preferred form of government by those who control both political parties in the United States. This is why the Council on Foreign Relations and Goldman Sachs provide so many high level advisers to every President. The various special-interest groups choose which party to pressure, in order to gain maximum economic returns through government power. There is competition within the overall framework. This framework excludes those special interests that want to shrink the federal government. Of course, there are not many such special interest groups.

This is why the gridlock that has now overwhelmed the House of Representatives is resented so deeply by the political establishment. It is hampering bipartisanship. In other words, it is reducing the ability of the federal government to expand its operations.

People who favor smaller government have little to cheer about today. Nobody is seriously attempting to shrink the federal government. But at least gridlock is keeping the government from adopting new programs of political control. The establishment wants a constant increase in the amount of regulation, spending, and favors. It wants new victims. Gridlock is reducing the supply of new victims.

(for the rest of my article, click the link.)

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