Rich Galen

During his time as Speaker, Newt Gingrich would occasionally slip back into his PhD in history college professor role and explain that successful organizations - Countries or corporations, operate in "their own enlightened self-interest."

Newt, being Newt, cited Alexis de Tocqueville and his book, Democracy in America as his source material.

De Tocqueville toured America in the 1830's and found that our unique form of representative democracy is based upon the American view of personal responsibility which

"constantly prompts them to assist one another and inclines them willingly to sacrifice a portion of their time and property to the welfare of the state."

Sounds Norman Rockwellian, more than George Orwellian, doesn't it?

Before you start screaming at your computer screen, I will stipulate that America in the mid-19th century was a far more enlightened place if you had the good fortune to be White, Protestant, and a land-owner; than if you were Black, Catholic (or Jewish) and a share-cropper or a factory worker at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

One hundred years after de Tocqueville did his tour of America the concept of "enlightened self-interest," as he defined, it took a hit when America and the rest of the industrialized world were plunged into what we have come to know as the Great Depression.

Post-war social theories effectively eradicated the motivation to help one another and do good works for our communities from individuals and moved it to the offices of bureaucrats through laws passed, and taxes levied, by elected officials.

Government spending for employees to work for the government is a good illustration.

There is no motivation for governments to urge its workers to be more productive. Why? Because if a government's goal is to provide work, wages, health care, and pension benefits for larger and larger portions of its population, then departments, agencies, and bureaus are, in fact, rewarded with larger and larger budgets to hire more and more people to do the work which the existing people would not, or could not, do.

You can see that right here in Your Nation's Capital during just about any Appropriations mark-up: We need more people to do this important work because the people we have doing the work, aren't getting it done.

Do the letters: MMS strike a familiar note? I guarantee you that in the FY 2011 budget for the Interior Department, BOEMRE (the new name of MMS) will get more money than it got this year because its employees didn't do their jobs of checking the drilling and recovery plans of oil companies.

So, we need more people to do that checking, which will require more money.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at