By Joel Bowman, Editorial Director, International Man
January 15, 2019
DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, WASHINGTON D.C. –
Q: What do you get if you lay 800,000 federal employees head-to-toe across the country?
A: A good start.
We arrived in the nation’s capital last night expecting chaos… bedlam… fierce and unbridled pandemonium. Maybe even a few heads on pikes.
What a disappointment...
The newspapers tell tales of mile-long lines at the airports, of trashed national parks and platoons of disgruntled government workers roaming the streets in search of human brains upon which to sate their zombie appetites.
Judging by the panic issuing forth from the chattering classes, one would think that civilization had descended into an existence “nasty, brutish and short.”
And yet… here we are… 24 days into the much-ballyhooed government shutdown and the Hobbesian nightmare scenario remains stubbornly detached from reality.
Instead of the “anarcho-apocalypse” so dreaded by the statist mob, the scene on the ground is much as you’d expect.
Here at the airport, the bartenders serve the beers… the waiters bring the burgers… and our fellow travelers make their way past apathetic TSA staff who, having missed their first paycheck last Friday, now only grope and grab half-heartedly.
“Do I have to take my shoes off, ma’am?” the woman in front of us in the screening line asked a slouched member of the tin badge brigade.
“I don’t care,” came the disinterested reply. “I ain’t gettin’ paid either way.”
The lassitude is encouraging. We imagine with boyish delight the cool, creeping indifference the shutdown must be inspiring over at the FDA, the EPA, the SEC, FEMA and the dozens of other allegedly “essential” agencies.
The situation reminds us of the old Soviet saying: "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work."
Hey, works for us!
Ah, but what of the government's furloughed epsilons, we hear you inquire.
Already stories are circulating about federal workers selling possessions and posting appeals on online fundraising sites to meet their bills.
We are not without compassion here at IM, Dear Reader. Nobody likes to see folk down on their luck. Moreover, we are cheerful optimists.
Rather than bemoan the plight of the bloated Leviathan and its scaled hangers on, we look forward to welcoming more and more federal employees back to the land of the living, newly liberated from their dependence on the state’s ill-gotten largesse and ready to do something useful and good with their lives... in the private sector.
Withdrawal is tough, to be sure, but the longer the shutdown goes on, the better chance these folk have of beating their rabid addition once and for all.
Joel Bowman for International Man