Scrolling Headlines:

Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

The power of no

There are many reasons why it is foolish to lambaste the Republican Party as the “Party of No,” but one reason must be emphasized above all else: The foolishness of judging an effective government based on the quantity of legislation it passes. Efficient government is not a wholesale transfer of power to unelected technocrats in bureaucracies that end up taking a life of their own, but rather it is in the proper execution of duties that the government has been charged with. While politicians may proclaim themselves to be the primary engines of progress in society, it must be remembered that it is really the insight of those individuals who are personally engaging a social problem.                                                 

                                                                          

            Despite the fact that politicians always proclaim the dignity of the American common person, and that whenever elections come around they do their best to be seen with groceries in their arms, sleeves rolled up with a baseball cap on, they consistently fail to understand why the wisdom of common people must be respected. No, it is not because they are “down-to-earth” and ready to comprise; rather, it is because each individual knows what they do best and have gathered a wealth of knowledge from their daily experiences. Of course, knowledge must not be understood as merely being the sum of all scientific knowledge, for it also comes in the form of the understanding of circumstances in a particular time and space.

One of the failings of centralized bureaucracies is that they cannot have intimate knowledge of the second species, not only because of the fact that such information cannot be consumed through the memoranda and reports (having to be learned through experience), but also because they change along with the conditions that they react to. Of course, it is often that specific knowledge that must be used in solving the problems that affect society.

       As a result, the proper sphere of government is in guiding the actions of free individuals in society, giving them an institutional framework in which they know the laws and are properly protected, not in directly providing solutions. Enter the current debates where many commentators have derided the Republican Party for being the “Party of No,” and have condemned them for merely continuing the status-quo. Many in the media have criticized the party for not using their influence “constructively,” yet this is simply not a sound criticism because proactive government programs simply do not solve the problems they are created to solve.

I could go on theoretically on this point, but it should be self-evident enough after failures in the “War on Poverty,” the “War on Drugs,” the “War on Terror,” government attempts to make education better, government attempts to lower American dependence on foreign oil, et cetera. To make the situation even worse, government bureaucracies, even when they are utter failures, cannot be done away with, and the resources are given to other individuals willing to try alternate solutions. When power is accumulated by government, individuals can no longer use their insights in order to solve problems through their own efforts. The entire mindset against the “Party of No” is a rush towards even more government programs in hopes that they will be capable of delivering society from evil.

       Government must be bridled if it is to be of benefit to all in society. There is nothing more dangerous against maintaining that control than the perception of government as a social problem-solver. There is nothing objectionable to deadlock in government, provided that the deadlock prevents the passing of legislation that will have detrimental effects upon society. At the very worst, deadlock merely prevents a rash decision that cannot be undone for; as the aphorism goes, there is nothing as permanent as a temporary government measure.

Harrison Searles is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at hsearles@student.umass.edu.

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