The Ass and His Shadow by Aesop
A traveler hired an Ass to convey him to a distant place. The day being intensely hot, and the sun shining in its strength, the Traveler stopped to rest, and sought shelter from the heat under the Shadow of the Ass. As this afforded only protection for one, and as the Traveler and the owner of the Ass both claimed it, a violent dispute arose between them as to which of them had the right to the Shadow. The owner maintained that he had let the Ass only, and not his Shadow. The Traveler asserted that he had, with the hire of the Ass, hired his Shadow also. The quarrel proceeded from words to blows, and while the men fought, the Ass galloped off.
In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance.
As the American people and their elected representatives quarrel over the shadow of the U.S. Government, the Republic, which has given us shade from the constellation of less beneficent political systems, is slowly moving away from us.
We can argue about the size of government, the reach of the surveillance state and the extent of the administrative state, but at the end of the day we the people are responsible for the whole mess. We own it, we’ve borrowed heavily to grow it and we’re now faced with the challenge of figuring out where to go from here.
The course we’ve been on is clearly not sustainable!