Two recent columns in The Advocate have imparted the ominous news that Gov. Bobby Jindal, currently on hiatus from his national campaign of self-promotion, intends to focus his attention on the “home front.” This news should give every Louisianan pause. We know the damage Jindal can do when he actually tries to govern. His successful effort to privatize publicly funded education is a case in point. His success at demonizing career public schoolteachers is another.
Now his focus is on the state’s tax code. For this purpose, our self-avowed fiscally conservative governor has hired a new Department of Revenue director at a salary double that of the last director. While he has deemed it necessary to decimate funding for higher education and health care, Jindal has no problem finding money for hiring lackeys. Fiscal conservative indeed!
One can easily imagine the “reform” his tax revision will take: elimination of taxes for business to be offset by cuts to social services. It is the old, tired Republican song.
Jindal’s philosophy of governance (and, by extension, that of every Republican now in office) requires an abnegation of the social contract we citizens have with one another. Indeed, it is a denial of the very idea of society, for it denies the organic nature and interconnectedness of society.
We are not merely an agglomeration of individuals who all happen to inhabit the same space. Yes, we are all individuals and are free to make the decisions that directly affect us. But we are not free to disregard the consequences those decisions have on others. Nor are we free to deny that government is, in fact, the organizational extension of all of us. Government didn’t just fall out of the sky: We created it to serve us.
What helps us as individuals and hurts others in the process hurts the entire society. When government, through rank misadministration, degrades the social contract, the community is degraded. A benefit to business resulting in cuts to services for those who need them or a “scholarship”of public money that pulls funding away from another school that needs it thereby denying resources to other children — each has deleterious consequences for the entire community.
Jindal’s philosophy of governance is a dog-eat-dog form of social engineering through the deconstruction of government. It is a contradiction of one of our nation’s founding principles — e pluribus unum. It is an incongruously Darwinian philosophy for a man who espouses creationism.