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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Peggy Noonan on Big Government and the Abramoff Scandal

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan has such a wonderful way with words. Her column today looks at the Abramoff scandal and what it teaches us about the Conservative Movement in particular and the absence of those angels Mr. Madison had in mind in writing Federalist #51:

"People in government - people in a huge, sprawling government - often get carried away. And they don't always even mean to. But they are little tiny parts of a large and overwhelming thing.
"If government is a steamroller, and that is in good part how I see it, the individuals who work in it are the atoms in the steel. The force of forward motion carries them along. There is inevitably an unaccountability, and in time often an indifference about what the steamroller rolls over.
"All the busy little atoms are watching each other, competing with each other, winning one for heir little cluster. And no one is looking out and being protective of what the steamroller is rolling over - traditions, shared beliefs, individual rights, old assumptions, whatever is being rolled over today."

Abramoff represents what happens when you decide to not merely make friends with the steamroller but to turn it to your own narrow ends. Go here for the rest of Noonan's outstanding column.