The endless state of emergency

  • 6 January 2015
  • NormanL
The endless state of emergency

The President has declared a state of emergency. The President in this case is Jimmy Carter, and the emergency was delcared in 1979 in response to the hostage crisis in iran">Iran.

The hostages came home in 1981 (on the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated president), but the emergency continues. And it isn't the only such emergency that's still on the books. Eight of the 16 national emergencies declared by Bill Clinton are still in effect, as are 13 of the 14 declared by George W. Bush. And Mr. Obama is no slouch when it comes to never-ending emergencies -- eight of the nine he has declared are still in effect.

There may be legitimate reasons for some of these emergencies to remain in place. But we are also reminded of the words of H.L. Mencken:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.