Congress opened and Alabama plays Clemson for the national championship

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the senior Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, stated at the opening of the 116th Congress last week that there is one core principle on which Republicans will not compromise. He stated that “Republicans will always choose personal freedom over government control.” What did he mean by that? If he meant the plain simple reading of the sentence, I know no American, Republican or Democrat, who would choose government control over personal freedom. It is in fact a very American and liberal statement. But if he means some variant of “all government is bad”, which I believe is what some listeners think he meant, it is a ludicrous position for any politician who truly wants America to be strong and successful.

Saying that all government is bad is a bit like saying that only football players whose last names start with the letters A through K can play for our team. Our team will be weaker than if we used all the players available to us. For example, in 1970 the University of Southern California’s football team, a fully-integrated team, traveled to play Alabama, a still segregated team. USC won the game 42 to 21. Sam Cunningham, a USC running back, had twelve carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone. This thrashing convinced Alabama of the need to integrate, and, in 1971 Alabama recruited its first Black player. The Crimson Tide’s wins, losses and ties in the years before integrating and after speak for themselves.

Year   W    L    T

Pre Integration

1967   8    2    1
1968   8    3    0
1969   6    5    0
1970   6    5    1

Post Integration

1971   11    1    0
1972   10    2    0
1973   11    1    1
1974   11    1    0
1975   11    1    0

Disagreeing about whether the private sector does various things better or the public sector does (or a combination thereof) is rational. But demonizing all government is just as ludicrous as demonizing all business, or only allowing players whose names begin with the letters A to K on the field. The results are perfectly foreseeable, and they are not good. (For more on the subject click here)

Leave a Reply