Legislators Legislate. It’s What They Do.

Friday, March 26th, 2010

When I send a patient for a surgical consult, I expect a surgical answer. A surgeon does surgery. It’s what they do. They cut and fix and see the world through the lens of a scalpel. It’s not right or wrong. It just is. You don’t go to a surgeon to sue a business partner or balance your books or invest your money. You don’t go to a surgeon to give you nutritional advice or to solve your relationship trouble. You go to a surgeon for surgery.

I bring up this analogy to explain Congress.

Legislators legislate. They make laws. Their constituents see problems that need solutions. Someone says, “There ought to be a law” and they make a law. Legislators legislate. It’s what they do.

In a sense, there is no “small government” Congressman because their whole purpose is to make laws. And laws, by definition, proscribe behavior. Making laws makes the government bigger and more power and more invasive in your life. This is why they are hated.

Laws, by definition, create lawbreakers. That is, until their is a law on the books, it’s not a crime to do fill-in-the-blank. Because America is drowning in laws, we’re also drowning in criminals. The government, if it were so motivated, has enough legal ammunition to put every American behind bars for something.

So when we hear Representative Paul Ryan praise a Democrat for good parts of the legislation, imagine a surgeon praising another surgeon for his “fine work”.

These guys love to make laws. They love the haggling. They love the collegiality. They love sparring. They LOVE the process. It’s fun to them. It’s like a game.

To some, it IS a game.

Who wins? Who loses? Who bested who? Who out-jousted Representative so-and-so on which morning show. It almost doesn’t matter what the law is about, really. It’s that it’s so damn cool to make a law. And even better, everyone has to do what I say. This is soooo awesome.

When talking to a surgeon friend of mine, he was lamenting the hours and the Medicaid fee reimbursement. I gloated about my free weekends, good hours and happy patients. He said,”But I get to cut.”

So for all the belly-aching you hear from Congressmen, they get to make laws. And laws make your life more constrained, more controlled and less yours. That’s the way it goes.

For fellow Americans expecting salvation from a certain party or group, keep in mind that in order to have the freedom and lack of invasive laws, Congressmen will have to work against their essential nature–making laws. Repealing laws is not a high priority with Congress, if you’ll notice.

Philosophically, they’re belief in the greatness of the individual and the force of that belief will have to outweigh their very human’s bent: to impose their will on someone else. Most of us don’t have the power bend others to our will. Congress has that power. And the power is heady stuff. That’s why there is so many big government Republicans. They wouldn’t be working in government if they didn’t think government was super fantastically great.

All legislators are not to be trusted. Their role is antithetical to freedom. It just is. That’s why there are checks and balances and separation of power, etc. That’s why there are elections.

With legislators spending all their time in Washington, D.C. (Nancy Pelosi loves it that way), they are distant from their constituents, their districts and their states. Their brains marinate in the D.C. power juice and they forget why they’re in DC. Or rather, their mission shifts to pleasing their party masters, big donors, lobbyists, etc. Those people pay the bills, after all.

The only solution is to stick on a Congress person like your life depends on it because these days, it actually does depend on it. And that’s the ultimate problem.

Eventually, the laws get more and more personal, until every aspect of your life is run by the guy who just received your vote.

Vote carefully.