10 January 2009

Hot And Cold Running Government



I thought computers were fast. Mine makes me wait until the great idea has vanished from view. That and being such a lousy typist that correcting the mistakes also interrupts the flow.

Anyway, I am finding sermon writing this week really hard. The idea I had is both elusive and boring, even though it seemed cool a month ago when the newsletter went to press. Instead I am fretting over the economy, and the Gaza conflict, and the weather, and any number of outside things we have thrown at us by the ubiquitous media.

Let me get one or two off my chest now, and maybe that will help me get my brain where it ought to be.

The Economy – two points:

Politics is about taking turns. The people decided it was time for the Democrats to take a turn leading. Whether they will do right is unknown, but for the last ten plus years the Republicans have held the tiller. Now that we are floating perilously close to a water fall to hear the Republicans say tax cuts are the way to go is like hearing ‘full steam ahead.’ When facing a waterfall, turn around.

Socialism is fine, for a while. Some times we need more capitalism, some more socialism, because the bottom line measure is ‘liberty and justice for all,’ not wealth or power. Right now a measure of socialism – government powered endeavor – is what we need because private endeavor is too scared. When the ship of state is on smoother waters the balance can shift and ought to.

So it seems obvious to me at least that we need to shift to a more assertive government economic role for now, but be ready to shift away from that when it is not longer needed. It’s a bit like civil unrest when the National Guard has to be called out, or a national disaster when the feds come in be cause they have more resources than local government. When things settle down, the National Guard Leaves and the agencies pack up. The big question is how long is that?

Inflation is one measure. We are going to pump vast amounts of money into the economy. When inflation starts kicking in, and it will, then the feds will have to turn down their work and let the cooling forces of private competition take more effect.

Does anyone like me remember steam engines? On the top of the boiler was a device called a ‘governor,’ which through the ingenious use of physics kept the boiler from getting too hot or too cold. That’s what government does – adds and subtracts law or money – to keep the nation from being too hot or too cold. Right now, markets are frozen. Time to add the heat and lots of it.


At some point in the future, we hope sooner than later, the temperature will rise enough to need cooling off. The Democratic turn will be over and we will need Republican restraint. It will come, but not right now.


btw, I did get a decent night's sleep.

4 comments:

Jane said...

I recently re-read a poem I thought you might enjoy as it reminds me of some of the ideas you have expressed in sermons. It is by W S Merwin:

Good People

From the kindness of my parents
I suppose it was that I held
that belief about suffering

imagining that if only
it could come to the attention
of any person with normal
feelings certainly anyone
literate who might have gone

to college they would comprehend
pain when it went on before them
and would do something about it
whenever they saw it happen
in the time of pain the present
they would try to stop the bleeding
for example with their own hands

but it escapes their attention
or there may be reasons for it
the victims under the blankets
the meat counters the maimed children
the animals the animals
staring from the end of the world

Robin Edgar said...

"The idea I had is both elusive and boring, even though it seemed cool a month ago when the newsletter went to press."

You mean you actually announce upcoming sermons that have not been substantially written Rev. Wooden? Is this a common practice amongst clergy? U*U clergy or otherwise.

"Right now a measure of socialism – government powered endeavor – is what we need because private endeavor is too scared."

You already have a measure of government powered "socialism" in the multi-hundred billion dollar bail-outs of too *greedy* "private endeavor". . . ;-)

"Does anyone like me remember steam engines? On the top of the boiler was a device called a ‘governor,’ which through the ingenious use of physics kept the boiler from getting too hot or too cold. That’s what government does – adds and subtracts law or money – to keep the nation from being too hot or too cold. Right now, markets are frozen. Time to add the heat and lots of it."

Very nice analogy Rev. Wooden. Good sermon material. Maybe the U.S. government should add money to the wallets and bank accounts of tax-paying U.S. citizens instead of failed "private endeavor".

WFW said...

In answer to your question Mr Edgar, many clergy wrestle the sermon to the ground in the wee smalls of the night before. I work on ideas all the time, but our newsletter is a monthly so they need titles a month to six weeks ahead. In all honesty, the whole purpose of titles is to attarct attention and get people to come. But if we were really daring, we would no more announce our topics than Catholic Priests or Rabbis. Speaking of which my rabbi friend here is among those who work the day before, so this is no 'christian' problem. Henry Ward Beecher never wrote them out beforehand at all, and he is far from alone. There are many clergy who preach ex tempore. Some very well. Only one clergyman I actually knew completed them weeks in advance. We who knew him bowed to his discipline.

BTW, while I am a UU clergyman, this blog and my church are not UU endeavors. So when I decline to publish some of your comments it is because they are too 'parochial' in their subject matter. Love hearing your thoughts about the nutty world of liberal religion, but I have exactly no interest in touting or tweaking UU stuff.

Darsie said...

Well said, Fred.