Paul Jacob

And yet the newspaper story called the job cut “crucial to combating the county’s high smoking rates.” Crucial.

Can an unnecessary government “service” be “crucial”?

The idea that “the people,” in their private (and truly communal) lives, should handle decisions about such pleasures as smoking, and its sometime non-pleasurable consequences, is foreign to the modern way of running government. But the modern way is becoming passé, as we now strain to meet budgets.

Besides, so much of what government does is, itself, illegitimate.

When times get tough, it shouldn’t be “hardball” politicians seek to play. It should be a more joyous game, one of relief. We should be glad to get rid of intrusive government programs, busybodies, nannies. . . .

We should be glad to get rid of paid propagandists telling us how to live (even if we agree with them).

Politicians can either view the current situation as an opportunity for reform or to cling to power, like Mubarak, using the hardest of hardball politics.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.